Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edison Sumner issued a stern warning to businesses that the practice of charging consumers surcharges on their final bill, when conducting transactions with their debit and credit card, is unacceptable and against the law.
Many businesses for years have been passing on banking charges to customers and forcing them to purchase a minimum amount before they are allowed to use their debit/credit cards.
“This is a matter that was brought to the attention of the (Chamber) by the Clearing Banks Association of The Bahamas (CBAB) that there were a number of merchants across the country who were and are charging customers for the use of their credit or debit cards at those facilities,” Sumner told Eyewitness News.
“Some of those (merchant) charges range between three and five per cent of the value of their transactions.”
Once the CBAB brought this ‘regular occurrence’ to the chamber, Sumner said he felt incline to “bring it to the attention of the merchants and consumers in the country.”
“…the fact is, as we understand it as a standard merchant agreement – merchants are not supposed to charge their customers for the use of credit cards; that’s the first thing,” he noted.
“Secondly, there ought not be a minimum purchase required by any merchant.”
According to Sumner, although not every business is a member of the Chamber, he emphasized that they are still all members of the business community and urged all businesses to remain compliant with the agreement signed with credit card companies and the clearing banks association.
Sumner told Eyewitness News that the Chamber wants to “ensure that the customer feels they are not being taken advantage of by any merchant who is requiring them to pay extra fees on the purchase of, or transactions using their credit or debit cards.
“Without customers, we would not be in business,” he said.
He urged those merchants who have been adding charges, to speak with their banks to ensure that they are compliant with the agreements they signed.
“We want to encourage the consumers who continue to face these charges by merchants, to let the Chamber know about it so they can approach those merchants directly where it’s necessary to do so. But otherwise, we will raise the concern again with the clearing banks,” he said.