Précis – The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 which implement Article 19 of the Consumer Rights Directive will come into force in April 2013.

What?

The Regulations prevent traders from imposing payment surcharges on consumers where the surcharge exceeds the cost to the trader of using the relevant payment method.

So what?

It is advisable to ensure your payment surcharges do not breach the Regulations in advance of their introduction in April 2013.

The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 will come into force on 6 April 2013. Broadly, they prevent traders from imposing payment surcharges on consumers where the surcharge exceeds the cost to the trader of using the relevant payment method. They implement Article 19 of the Consumer Rights Directive early. To access the Regulations, click here.

BIS has published the outcome of its consultation on this early implementation. To access this, click here. The BIS proposes to give public enforcers of consumer law the ability to award additional remedies against businesses committing breaches of consumer protection law.

The OFT has responded in support of the BIS consultation, but wants the Government to take the proposals further and wants public enforcers to have the power to recover profits earned by businesses as a result of a breach of consumer laws. The OFT also stresses the importance of consumers being given refunds and compensation.

The Ministry of Justice has stated that the Law Commission’s final report and recommendations on reform of unfair terms in consumer contracts will be sent to the Government by the end of March 2013 and that the Government’s response will be published in May 2013. It is intended that any reform of the law in this area will be included in the proposed Consumer Rights Bill.

The Citizens Advice service has issued a report calling for consumers to be given better access to redress for faulty goods and sub-standard services. To read more click here.

Additionally, the European Commission has published a code of EU online rights which sets out all the rights that EU consumers have when buying goods or services online and using online services. To access this, click here.