Just Eat Gives Regulators the Finger, Turns Credit Card Charges Into Universal 'Service Charge'

By Tom Pritchard on at

Last year it was announced that as of the 13th January this year (aka this Saturday), companies in the UK would not be allowed to charge customers for using credit cards. Some say it was the EU cracking down, other say it was our own government, but regardless of who should take credit it was designed to save people from "rip off" charges on products or services they were already paying for.

But there were warnings last month that those charges might just be passed onto consumers in other ways, and Just Eat has announced that this is exactly what it intends to do. The 50p charge for credit card users is changing, turning into a 50p 'service charge' that applies to all customers - even if they're paying with cash.

Just Eat claims the new charge is designed to make everything fairer for all its customers. It's totally not just because it doesn't want to lose money processing credit cards, or piss off partnered restaurants by shifting the cost onto them.

A spokesperson told the BBC that, "the change to legislation did play a part in prompting the review, " also claiming that it will help the company offer the best service:

"The 50p charge simply means that along with our restaurant partners, we can continue to deliver the best possible takeaway experience."

I was always under the impression that Just Eat didn't actually offer a takeaway experience. That job belongs to the actual takeaway that you no longer need to call whenever you want a meat fest pizza with extra curly fries.

Obviously people aren't that happy, and an ongoing takeover means you can't exactly take your business to Hungry House. Uber Eats and Deliveroo exist, but they already have a £2.50 delivery fee that you can't get round.

Consumer rights group Which? has called on Trading Standards to investigate whether there is a loophole in the new legislation, asking that it makes sure the card fee ban is "is enforced across the board, and that businesses can't find sneaky ways around it." Hannah Maundrell, the editor in chief of Money.co.uk, also spoke to the BBC, saying:

"It's wrong for companies to rebrand credit card fees as service charges.

The law was changed to stop businesses from profiting from unnecessary credit and debit card fees. So this makes a mockery of the law which is trying to protect us from getting ripped off."

She also added that while companies would likely absorb the new cost of processing credit card transactions, having them reflected in the initial price—and not added at the very end of the transaction— makes it easier for consumers to compare prices. [BBC News via Engadget]

Featured image: William Murphy/Flickr

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