Danish shops charged with levelling illegal credit card fees

Stores accused of not complying with rules changes

A recent check by the consumer protection agency Konkurrence og Forbrugerstyrelsen revealed that 22 Danish stores were dunning their customers with illegal credit card fees.

Customers using MasterCard had an extra fee added to their purchases and some shops were not allowing buyers to choose between Visa or the Dankort part of their Visa/Dankort. The agency has sent injunctions out to the recalcitrant shops and expects they will comply.

“The companies indicate they will comply with our order,” Michael Riis, the head of Konkurrence og Forbrugerstyrelsen, told DR Nyheder. “But we are obviously aware we need to follow up.”

Well-known bakery chain Lagkagehuset was among the stores charging Mastercard customers a fee of 34 øre on a 40 kroner purchase.

The chain has reversed its policy and offered to return the illegal fees to any customer hit with one.

Plastic fantastic
The collecting of extra credit card fees has been illegal since the start of the year.

Riis said the injunction demands businesses to immediately stop collecting the extra charges or face possible penalties and being reported to the police.

“Thus far, no businesses or companies have been fined,” he said. “Generally we are seeing that the shops are complying.”

READ MORE: Credit card swipe charge scrapped

Before the rules change, shops could decided whether a credit or debit card was being used in a transaction. Extra fees were commonly passed on to the consumer.

American expressly forbidden
The new rules do not distinguish between credit or debit cards, and extra fees are not permitted except in the case of third party cards like Diners Club or American Express.

Fees collected from customers using Diners Club and American Express are only allowed if a business has a direct redemption agreement with those companies.