Australia credit card fee

Old Feb 27, 10, 8:40 pm
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Australia credit card fee

I was informed upon arrival today at the Hilton Sydney that from the 1st of March all credit card payments at the front desk will now have a 1.5% fee added to the invoice by the hotel. The fee will be waived only on advance purchase rates where there is no option to pay cash.

While this may be a somewhat common occurance in some aspects of Australian commerece it is most unwelcome at an international class hotel in a country with an otherwise civilized and mature economy. If they need to recover this cost they should hide it in the hotel rate as part of the cost of doing business.
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Old Feb 27, 10, 9:51 pm
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I think it applies to the other Hilton's in Australia. It is spreading through the hotel industry in Australia. Accor and Intercontinental have had similar surcharges for a while now.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 1:05 am
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This was true for most if not all hotels I stayed at in Australia, I stopped paying attention and arguing after I saw it on so many hotel bills belonging to different chains.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 1:26 am
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I have never understood this. I ran across it out at Ayers Rock a couple of years ago, but never got around to disputing it. Both Visa and Mastercard prohbit retailers from charging a surcharge for using a credit card (and from minimum charge restrictions).

Edit - Just did a little poking around. Apparently Australia has made it legal for merchants to impose a credit card surcharge. Still don't know how that jives with the merchant contract the hotel has with the credit card or if you could successfully dispute the charge later.

Last edited by jasonvr; Feb 28, 10 at 1:46 am
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Old Feb 28, 10, 2:49 am
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Originally Posted by jasonvr View Post
Still don't know how that jives with the merchant contract the hotel has with the credit card or if you could successfully dispute the charge later.
In Australia, Visa and Mastercard are prevented from having a no surcharge rule. The 'no surcharge' rule was removed from the agreements in Australia several years ago.

Surcharging has become more widespread in the last year and Hilton is just the latest to add a surcharge.

Last edited by perthite; Feb 28, 10 at 2:57 am
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Old Feb 28, 10, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by perthite View Post
In Australia, Visa and Mastercard are prevented from having a no surcharge rule. The 'no surcharge' rule was removed from the agreements in Australia several years ago.
What about Amex?
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Old Feb 28, 10, 6:08 am
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Thumbs down

The Reserve Bank of Australia has permitted merchants to add surcharges on any credit card purchases in Australia. This applies to Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Diners etc.

The intention was to benefit consumers, but it has had the reverse effect, where merchants add surcharges because they can.

Of course if you pay cash, there is no surcharge, but in the case of hotels most people pay by credit card. Sad to see Hilton have joined the band of surchargers.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 11:12 am
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Originally Posted by perthite View Post
In Australia, Visa and Mastercard are prevented from having a no surcharge rule. The 'no surcharge' rule was removed from the agreements in Australia several years ago.

Surcharging has become more widespread in the last year and Hilton is just the latest to add a surcharge.
Still, I wonder if a US based cardholder could dispute the surcharge when they returned home. It is quite clearly shown on the Visa and Mastercard site that merchants can't surcharge. It makes no mention of exceptions, international usage, or anything like "except where permitted by law".

http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_v...surcharge.html
http://www.mastercard.com/us/persona...xpay_faqs.html
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Old Feb 28, 10, 11:22 am
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What are you supposed to do with a long stay- have an armoured car deliver the funds at checkout?

Price your product so you can cover your overhead.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 11:27 am
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Originally Posted by jasonvr View Post
Still, I wonder if a US based cardholder could dispute the surcharge when they returned home. It is quite clearly shown on the Visa and Mastercard site that merchants can't surcharge. It makes no mention of exceptions, international usage, or anything like "except where permitted by law".

http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_v...surcharge.html
http://www.mastercard.com/us/persona...xpay_faqs.html
How would you dispute the surcharge? Is it listed as a separate line item on your cc statement? I was down in Sydney a few weeks ago (stayed at the Sydney Hilton) and remember thinking it was strange that some stores out in town told me about a surcharge and some did not. My Hilton stay was a reward stay so it didn't really matter. BTW, the elevator now stops on the 36 fl instead of stoping on the 35th fl and walking up to enter the lounge. Downside, they ration the liquor in your drinks.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 11:43 am
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I believe they won't support a dispute, I think the where permitted by law may be an issue. If I use my credit card at a gas station that charges a higher price for credit purchases (which out of principal I totally refuse to do) I have no right to dispute the credit card surcharge as the state laws permit it and some stations charge it.

Funny how they snuck that in when prices were flying, and never took it out when they came back down.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 12:09 pm
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
I believe they won't support a dispute, I think the where permitted by law may be an issue. If I use my credit card at a gas station that charges a higher price for credit purchases (which out of principal I totally refuse to do) I have no right to dispute the credit card surcharge as the state laws permit it and some stations charge it.

Funny how they snuck that in when prices were flying, and never took it out when they came back down.
A) A stated cash discount is allowable and a huge loophole in the contracts. It essentially the exact same thing, they just have to phrase it properly.
B) As far as evidence, is there a sign at the Hilton that you can take a photo of (there was one at my Ayers Rock hotel) or is it itemized on the bill?
C) Nowhere on the US Visa or Mastercard site (that I could find) does it state anything about "except where allowed by law". They both just categorically state that surcharges are not allowed.

I'm not saying that this would work, but can it hurt to try?
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Old Feb 28, 10, 1:54 pm
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Originally Posted by jasonvr View Post
A) A stated cash discount is allowable and a huge loophole in the contracts. It essentially the exact same thing, they just have to phrase it properly.
B) As far as evidence, is there a sign at the Hilton that you can take a photo of (there was one at my Ayers Rock hotel) or is it itemized on the bill?
C) Nowhere on the US Visa or Mastercard site (that I could find) does it state anything about "except where allowed by law". They both just categorically state that surcharges are not allowed.

I'm not saying that this would work, but can it hurt to try?
Any contract provision that is prohibited by law is void anyway. Even without saying that surcharges are impermissible except where the law prohibits such clauses, that provision is still automatically unenforceable.

Edited to add:

If your booking was made with a credit card entered as a form of payment, and your quote did not display a credit card surcharge, I would fight this on other grounds. Your reservation is a contract, whose terms Hilton set forth and you accepted. On the other hand, signing your credit card charge might be considered acceptance in the changes to those terms - so I certainly wouldn't sign any credit charge with that line item included, since it says you the cardholder agree to pay the above charges.

Last edited by elCheapoDeluxe; Feb 28, 10 at 2:01 pm
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Old Feb 28, 10, 3:02 pm
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This could rapidly become quite expensive. With the 1.5% hotel surcharge and VI/MC charging 1-3% for currency conversion, one could easily be charge 4-5% just for being a from foreigner and staying in a hotel.
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Old Feb 28, 10, 8:19 pm
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Absolutely hate these cc surcharges at Australian hotels. Rydges started it a couple of years ago and I simply didn't stay there again. Then ICH did the same and I've since paid with my EFTPOS card. Now Hilton...

It's just disappointing how they can sneak in these extra 1.5% fee on everything including restaurant charges. I don't know of any other decent restaurant in town that charges a cc fee other than the restaurants now at these hotel chains. Something has to be done about it. I'm sure AMEX and the other gang should have an interest that they stop surcharging guests. After all, I'm simply not using my cards there anymore, so the only losers are the cc companies but the only winner is still the hotel saving those cc fees
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