Companies not refunding credit fees when you return a product or cancel a service

Hey Choice Community

I have a question.

My husband and I paid in full for a trip next May on The Ghan with Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions.

We paid by credit card and they charged us a fee for using that credit card which we were happy to pay.

Due to changed circumstances we now have to cancel the trip.

The terms of our contract say that we will get a 100% refund.

However, when we went to cancel the trip they only were going to refund the trip cost not the credit card fee cost.

Is this correct?

Last time I looked at this as a business myself - if items are returned on a credit card the fees are refunded by the bank. So if this is still true should we not get the credit card fee back?

Thanks

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In relation to fees and whether they should be refunded, it may be dependent on the T&Cs or conditions of payment (see below for more information).

A point to make is you cancelled the booking which would be classed as a change in mind. Ghan/Journey Beyond Rail may have incurred costs associated with your booking which no fault of theirs, is still a cost to them with your cancellation.

It may be worth finding out the terms and conditions associated with a change of mind or passenger instigated cancellation to see what they say. These will provide information on what fees snd charges might apply.

Notwithstanding this, it could be worth asking Ghan/Journey Beyond Rail for copy of their merchant banking terms and conditions associated with credit card payments. If it was a surcharge percentage (say 2%) added to the total value of payment, some merchant T&Cs require the surcharge also to be refunded to the customer. If this is the case and the T&Cs are silent on change of minds/passenger instigated cancellations, you might be able to argue that they need to honour these merchant T&Cs.

If it was a fixed charge for using the credit card or any payment, say $100 per booking which is a bit like a non-refundable deposit, then this possibly wouldn’t be classed as a surcharge and the business could argue it was an non-refundable administrative charge to set up an account, process booking, holding the suite/seat etc. The $100 would appear as a separate cost item on the books, unlike a surcharge which would be included in the total payment value. In such case, they could reasonably keep these charges.

If the T&Cs are silent on what happens the additional fee due to a cancellation or cancellation fees that apply when a booking is cancelled, you are within your rights to question Ghan/Journey Beyond Rail why the fee isn’t refunded.

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I just found this which also contains useful information…

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Yeah thanks I saw this. I read (okay speed read) their terms and conditions and it says that we are entitled to 100% refund. But it doesn’t say anything specific about fees. I will read it more carefully now. Thanks

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It was definitely a % fee added. I would totally understand about booking fee (even though I purchased the whole thing online) but it was a fee that was added on purely because I wanted to pay by credit card rather than direct debit. If I paid by direct debit I would not have been charged the fee. I also just spoke to Westpac my bank and they said they charge a % based on the total net sales in a month - so purchases less refund. However their bank could be different. Thanks for helping out.

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This is what the terms and conditions said for out fare

THE GHAN, INDIAN PACIFIC AND GREAT SOUTHERN
FULLY FLEXIBLE
DEPOSIT Value – 100% of booking fee | Due – on booking

FINAL PAYMENT

AMENDMENTS
Free of charge amendments prior to departure

GUEST CANCELLATIONS
Fully Refundable until departure

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It doesnt mention anything about credit card fees charged.

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If the fees were charged directly to me by a credit provider that is one thing, but if the entity providing the product or service were also charging a fee for themselves or on behalf of a third party, I’d argue “Fully” means just that. I know fine print is often called on, but unless there’s a caveat or asterisk or similar immediately adjacent to the statement saying “Fully” I’d give it a shot :wink:

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Thanks :). Lets see how I do

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If this was the case, I would be asking for the surcharge back. This is an example of a bank’s merchant EFTPOS agreement (which seems common across a number of banks):

If you apply or want to apply a Surcharge to a Transaction performed on the Terminal you must…ensure when processing a Refund Transaction against a Transaction that had a Surcharge applied that the Transaction amount and full Surcharge amount is refunded to the Cardholder.

Even the big banks have similar conditions in their merchant agreements (such as CBA - search ‘surcharge’ in the document).

I would be disputing that the surcharge hasn’t been refunded and state that it is common practice in bank merchant agreements that the surcharge is also refunded. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

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