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Card charge ban: Customers charged illegally at Winchester shops

Customers are being illegally charged at two popular Winchester shops, according to a Winol investigation.

Premier Stores on Wavell Way and Premier Stores on Cromwell Road are making customers pay 25p extra if they spend under £4 and wish to pay by card.

Credit and debit card surcharges were banned by the government a year ago, but customers shopping at the stores are still having to pay.

Both of the shops are about a mile from the university and are used regularly by students.

Vice President of Winchester’s Student Union, Millie Clucas, said: “I don’t think this is right. For students who use the shops on a daily basis, these charges can add up and really restrict their funds. We need to stop this.”

 Defending the 25p fee, a spokesperson for the store on Wavell Way said: “Massive supermarkets may not charge, but you can’t compare them to a small convenience store who is already struggling.

“We are making a loss if a customer purchases a 30p item on a card, but we don’t want to turn them away.”

Premier Stores on Cromwell Road is insisting customers pay 25p for a lollipop when spending under £4.

A spokesperson for the store said: “Customers have a choice whether they want to buy the lollipop which covers the bank charge, if they don’t want to they can buy the products elsewhere.”

Citizens Advice said: “Both of the charges are illegal, some will try dressing it up in another way, but it’s the same charge.”

Card fees were banned for Visa and Mastercard payments across the EU, and the Treasury estimated that in 2010 consumers spent £473m on surcharges.

Bookers, who own the Premier brand, said: “All Premier stores are independently owned which means we have no operational control, however will raise this matter with the retailers.”

Trading Standards have been notified and are carrying out a full investigation into both of the stores.

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