The National Retail Association (NRA) has today welcomed increased consumer protections against excessive credit card surcharges, following the passage of new laws through the Federal Parliament.
NRA Chief Executive Officer Trevor Evans said the laws, while targeted at consumers, would also protect reputable and fair retailers from having their reputations trashed by a small handful who do the wrong thing.
“We congratulate the Turnbull Government for the strong and swift action it has taken on this issue, as well as for the genuine way it has engaged in consultations with the retail sector,” Mr Evans said.
“There has no doubt been gouging of consumers when it comes to credit card fees, but in our experience it has largely been hotels, airlines and taxi companies charging an amount far in excess of the actual cost of providing the service. Along the way, they have given all retailers a bad name.
“We want consumers to be able to spend their hard-earned cash on the things they want to buy, not on the costs of buying them.”
Mr Evans thanked the Government for its efforts to understand the retail sector, and for giving the NRA a voice in the consultation process.
He called for a light touch in enforcing the new rules, particularly with small businesses, saying implementing the new safeguards would be a learning curve for many retailers.
“The regulators need to remember, when starting to enforce these rules, that small businesses may not all be across the complex and changing regulations in this space. We urge the authorities to approach the issue from a position of educating, rather than punishing, once the new laws are rolled out later this year.
“Any retailers unsure about their compliance with the new arrangements should contact their industry association for advice.”
Trevor Evans is available for interviews. Contact the NRA’s media unit on (07) 3240 0163 or 0467 792 013.
The NRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry organisation, and has been representing the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector for around 100 years.