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EFTPOS surcharges at coffee shops

We have ordered food twice in the last month in coffee shop style restaurants, both in the same town, Dalwallinu. The bill was around $15.00 On both occasions, we were told there would be a surcharge of $1.00 to use an EFTPOS card. On the first occasion, we had cash, so paid with cash, but the second time, the protest raised resulted in the proprietor almost shoving us out the door and no food was purchased as a result.

We have a small business, so are keenly aware of the cost of transactions using EFTPOS. We pay 0.4% of a transaction cost on EFTPOS and 0.8% on a credit card. Our monthly cost of the machine is around $20.00. Including credit card transactions, our costs total around $53.00 per month. We have a few clients who still pay with cash and cheque. Banking cash costs us in fees and is unsafe, as we have to carry the cash, so we are not fans of cash. It does not cost us 7% per EFTPOS transaction, which is more or less what the costs were on the transactions we encountered.

We will not be stopping in Dalwallinu again, to eat. We would probably not have objected to a $0.10 charge. But it is so much easier to simply raise the cost of goods by $0.05 - $0.10 on average, to recoup the cost of the overheads. We have a large group of overseas visitors coming soon and will encourage them to eat in Bindoon or New Norcia and simply give Dalwallinu a miss. Charge us a fee and we will not do business with you. It is hard enough being forced to pay fees on buying tickets for flights and concerts, but paying a fee to drink coffee and have a sandwich is not acceptable.

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There is business, and there is good business, and there are some businesses that don’t want customers who do not deliver them top profits and maximum convenience serving them.

Fast food places (Hungry Jacks, Maccas, etc) have low value high volume sales yet are happy to take cards for any amount. I stopped patronising restaurants (and other businesses) that institute card surcharges; when caught out the first time I tell them I will not be back, and why, and honour my promise.

If they post a $10 minimum for EFTPOS I don’t have a problem as most customers would go with that; but if found short in pocket for a $4 coffee now and then and they charged that $10 just because, I would never return.

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Fitness First have an even bigger scam. You can pay up front (credit card or Eftpos) for multiples of 2 weeks. (for some reason they can only count in twos. An odd number of weeks cannot be done apparently). If you pay by credit card they charge the transaction fee. OK some businesses do charge for credit card use. However, even if you pay upfront for say 12 weeks through eftpos they will charge you a fee every two weeks i.e. each time they draw down on your credit even though they already have the full amount in their account. They say they treat eftpos like a credit card even though you have paid in full. I made a big fuss about this and did get the fee waived. But I maintain they should NOT be charging a fee to the customer for their own internal accounting system.

Has anyone else come across having to pay an extra fee for using eftpos (NOT credit card but direct payment from your account to theirs)?

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Agree.

We should not be paying to pay for our goods.

These businesses do not realise that surcharges result in a decrease in customers and a decrease in sales as a result.

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These days especially, it is fair to say that an EFT machine (for most commercial businesses) is a must. So build the cost of running it into your fees and leave the drama out of the payment transaction. No one wants to feel like they are paying more then they have to, so advertise the price once, and have it cover your costs - that is smart business.
Alternatively, I would suggest every business addressing the high fees with the banks, so turn the tide on them forcing businesses to pass these fees along. They are the REAL pirates!

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What you should now do is take a screen shot of the above and post it to the coffee shop. Just so they know they have been published. I would also send it to their business association. The problem with a withdrawal of patronage is they are never aware it has happened. Just plonk it in the mail, no return address. The town is on my avoid list now. Also put it in yelp, and also in Google maps too.

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Interesting you post this - the new surcharging legislation against unfair surcharges was pass last year and will be introduced in waves.

Last September the law became mandatory for big businesses. The clearest example is airlines, who now charge % surcharges that reflect the true cost of processing a card instead of their previous, arbitrary fees of $7-20ish.

These laws will become mandatory for small businesses (all businesses by logic) in September this year. After this time cafes, shops, newsagents, every kind of retail outlet will only be able to surcharge at an amount that reflects the true cost of acceptance.

This means they will be able to:

  • Charge a percentage fee (not a fixed fee)
  • Charge separate fees for different types of cards (higher charge for AMEX or credit card, over EFTPOS), OR
  • If they choose to have one surcharge, charge the lowest amount for all cards used

The ACCC is working to educate small businesses, but consumers will also need to be aware come September 1, so they are able to call businesses out on shonky surcharging at the point of sale.

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PS @isellev interesting to know the fees you pay for EFTPOS/Credit - it seems there’s such a variety of charges out there that it’s hard to know what’s “reasonable” store to store.

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Just a thought. Not knowing the size of the establishment charging the excessive surcharge.I offer the following:

Many small business owners have started up due to becoming unemployed and find it extremely difficult to make ends meet. They would not necessarily be very savvy in either calculating actual cost of using Merchant Services, that alone %.'s or the effect on customer relationships. May be kind to let such proprietors know the errors of their ways and suggest they find mentor.

Yes. Also does it too. We use card straight out of our account, but they still charge you extra, plus gst!!?

Actually, this was mentioned at both establishments, along with offering the weblink article to what is going to be the legal requirement from September, to the first establishment. The first business in Dalwallinu told us they were not interested and that we accepted or did not.
The aggressive reaction from the second was unexpected and as my partner was told to leave the store, after informing him that everybody else did it, no further conversation was attempted. It became unpleasant rapidly. Which is a pity as we liked the food in the shop.
Having just visited Aldi today and knowingly paid the surcharge on my credit card - 0.5% on $71.00 of around $0.35 that is much more reasonable and within expected limits.
If they cannot calculate the surcharge, they should not charge it.
Both establishments are small. Seats for approximately a dozen people are available, with a larger part of the business appearing to be take away.

We can rapidly work out percentages. I am going to accept 0.5% - 1%. Admittedly not everyone can do this in their heads, but most people have a phone, which has a calculator. But the 7% surcharge in this case, was not acceptable. In general, we walk out of a store which adds a surcharge. We have paid with debit cards at hotels that charge surcharges to avoid the fee and Aldi offers this option. This means I have a choice. Use my credit card and pay a surcharge, or use a deit card and avoid the charge.
Interestingly, several places have not been aware that pay wave is effectively a credit card transaction and if they are charging a surcharge, this will apply. I ask the staff at most places,and have been assured that despite a notice advising of the surcharge for credit cards, that paywave does not attract this. More often than not, at service stations and hotels.

At your next opportunity when given bad advice and before you wave, ask the staff if you can have your basket free if they have it wrong. They cannot do that but such challenges can be memorably educational. More so than the minute of related training that apparently got missed.

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That is literally a scam, isn’t it. You should report it to the ACCC or ASIC. (not sure which would be the more relevant?)

… or simply invest in some half-decent POS software (not a huge investment nowadays given you can run it on an iPad) which will calculate accurate surcharges automatically!! The behaviour outlined in this thread is profiteering, pure and simple.

Agree. I do not shop at businesses with surcharges, especially for EFTPOS.