Nine fines for overcharging credit card users

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“A payment surcharge is excessive and against the law if it exceeds the costs to the payment processing company,” said ACCC Vice President Mick Keogh.

“While the average additional cost per consumer was relatively low, given the number of transactions processed by Nine, this was a significant amount. “

According to the ACCC, approximately 220,000 current digital and home delivery subscribers who paid by Mastercard or Visa credit or debit card will receive a one-time cash adjustment of $ 1.92, the average surcharge for payment. excess paid by these consumers, or their subscription will be expanded.

Nine will also contact affected advertising customers to advise them that they may have been overcharged and are eligible for refunds.

“This should remind businesses that the ACCC will continue to investigate complaints about companies imposing excessive payment surcharges,” Keogh said.

A spokesperson for Nine said they accepted the findings and paid the corresponding fine.

“The overcharge was unintentional, it was not an error that affected all of Nine (eg Stan and Future Women were not affected) and we took steps to credit subscribers / advertisers impacted. We have also reviewed our processes to ensure that the error does not repeat itself, ”he said.

Nine worked with the ACCC to rectify the problem after the competition watchdog raised questions about the surcharges applied to customers who subscribe to the company’s newspapers.

It is understood that the 0.9 percent surcharge was initially calculated correctly when it was first implemented, but was not updated annually and was found to be too high with a surcharge fee of around $ 2 paid by subscribed customers.

Nine also found that it overcharged customers who paid for their advertising with debit and credit cards, with advertiser customers paying an average surcharge of around $ 1.80.

Nine has since removed any surcharge for all subscribers using Visa and Mastercard debit cards for payments and reduced the surcharge to a maximum of 0.5% for all subscribers using Visa and Mastercard credit for payments.

Nine also removed the Visa Debit and Mastercard surcharge for all advertising invoices and reduced the surcharge to 0.9% for Visa and Mastercard credit payments for all advertising invoices.

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