Local butcher tried to con me

  Graham. 23:12 13 Jun 2009

The bill was for £4.35. When I offered my Maestro card I was told there would be a surcharge for purchases under £5, and I should buy something else to take it over. He didn't know the surcharge amount, so I figured it could only be a few pence and paid with the card.

Looking at my account on-line, there was no surcharge. Maybe Trading Standards should make some test purchases?

  Woolwell 23:34 13 Jun 2009

I think that you will find that the butcher has to pay a charge for the use of debit/credit cards. It may well be that on a purchase under £5 that this charge wipes out his profit.

In your case there was no surcharge so I fail to understand your complaint.

  Graham. 23:37 13 Jun 2009

I was given the impression that I would have to pay the surcharge, and to check my bank statement for the amount.

  Stuartli 23:57 13 Jun 2009

Retailers have to pay a percentage of the amount spent (it varies from retailer to retailer) to the card company.

Small retailers quite often state that purchases under a certain amount (usually £5 to £10) will incur a surcharge.

The reason is that much of the profit on the sale is lost due to the card company's take.

It's usually with credit rather than debit cards and even if larger sums are involved, you may have to pay a surcharge.

For instance, if you buy your road fund licence on-line and pay by credit card there is a 2.5 per cent surcharge, but none with debit cards.

Travel or ticket agents sometimes seek a surcharge to cover such costs.

  Graham. 00:01 14 Jun 2009

That's the point, they were trying to get me to spend more to avoid them paying the surcharge.

  Jonathan314159 00:07 14 Jun 2009

I think trading standards have proper things to look into rather than this! Many retailers simply say that they dont accept credit cards below (say) £5 - thereby forcing you to buy something extra if you want to use it.

In this case your butcher has the worst of all worlds, he made no profit and he has an unhappy customer even though he didn't slap on a surcharge.

  dagnammit 00:45 14 Jun 2009

They weren't... they were trying to get you to spend a bit more so that they didn't make a loss on your purchase!

They pay the fee regardless. It's just on small sales it can take up the profit.

The big guys have favourable terms with plastic providers and can swallow it but for a small shop those fees can be the difference in a profit or loss.

  Si_L 01:19 14 Jun 2009

Could be a genuine mistake. A couple of retail places I have worked had that rule, and we had to put it in manually. Its easy to forget, especially if you are new to the job.

End of the day, you didn't get charged so saying that he tried to con you is a bit far-fetched.

  Forum Editor 01:58 14 Jun 2009

to make a surcharge on small purchases made with a credit card, and thousands of them do.

There was no con involved here.

  laurie53 09:22 14 Jun 2009

"He didn't know the surcharge amount, so I figured it could only be a few pence "

A pretty naive view.

He could have charged you £5, £10 or even £15 and the courts mat well have decided, if it got that far, that it was a reasonable amount.

  HondaMan 10:01 14 Jun 2009

Why on earth were you using a card for such a small amount anyway? Don't you carry any cash at all?

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