Muscat: Some traders are continuing to charge a swipe fee even after the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) said that extra fees charged on bank card purchases are “contrary to the law.”
Posing as a customer, a Times of Oman reporter contacted a travel agent and wanted to book a one way ticket to Mumbai for Monday. “The ticket costs OMR41, but you are paying via card, so you have to pay OMR42,” the agent said.
Meanwhile, a jewellery shop in Ruwi admitted that he would not give a customer discount if one is paying by card. “Normally, we give a discount of 2 per cent on cash purchases, but since you are paying by card you won’t get any discount,” confessed an employee at the jewellery store on Monday.
Indian resident Ramachandran Nair said: “This clarification by the PACP will help consumers a lot, as a lot of expats buy gold on credit card before going for their annual vacations.”
“Retailers usually ask the customers prior to purchase that an additional charge will be added if the payment is made through credit cards. Basically, it defeats the purpose of having credit cards and the convenience that the customers enjoy,” he added.
A senior official at a reputed bank, however, asserted that it is illegal to charge more on credit or a debit card. “But some agents continue to cheat people,” he said.
Residents claimed that a large number of retailers have been regularly charging them if they pay with a credit or debit card.
“Are you paying by cash or card?” is the first question posed to customers at some outlets so that the employees know if they have to modify the price.
Citizens and residents can contact the PACP at 80079009 or at 80077997 to report any violation.
“If any retailer still insists on charging, shoppers are within their rights to complain to the relevant authorities as the merchants are always a beneficiary because by offering credit card payment service, the business attracts additional business,” a businessman in Oman said.