Legal

Lloyds Auctioneers fined $37,800 over excessive surcharge allegations on big ticket auction items

Matthew Elmas /

Queensland-based auction business Lloyds Auctioneers has paid a $37,800 fine over allegations its customers paid hundreds of dollars in excess surcharges on big-ticket auction items.

The competition watchdog issued Lloyds with three infringement notices over the allegations, which it said saw customers overcharged between $30 and $350 over a six-month period.

The company has become the latest in a line of businesses to fall victim to ACCC scrutiny over excessive surcharge laws, which were brought in over the last two years.

Under the new laws it is illegal to levy surcharges that exceed the cost of processing a particular payment.

The ACCC alleged Lloyds charged customers a 2.25% surcharge on credit or debit card payments for auction items online between September 2017 and March 2018.

It alleges this was higher than the 1.43% cost of processing Lloyds was incurring.

“We were particularly concerned because, due to the high value of the auction items sold, some customers paid hundreds of dollars more in surcharges than the cost to Lloyds of processing those payments,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lloyds has not admitted to a contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act under the infringement notice.

It is, however, the latest business to be fined for excessive surcharge allegations in recent months.

In September, Fitness First paid a $12,600 fine on its own infringement notice with the ACCC for levying a flat surcharge of 50 cents, which was above its costs in some cases.

Meanwhile, CLA Trading, which trades as Europcar, is currently the subject of Federal Court proceedings where the ACCC is alleging customers were charged fees above its costs.

The laws came into effect for small businesses in September 2017 and have seen thousands of complaints come through to the competition watchdog.

Hundreds of businesses have responded by ditching surcharges altogether.

SmartCompany contacted Lloyds for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany.

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