Rothesay shopkeeper defends himself against card claim

Londis, Montague Street, Rothesay. Photo: Google Maps.
Londis, Montague Street, Rothesay. Photo: Google Maps.

A Rothesay shopkeeper has claimed he is perfectly entitled to charge customers for using their debit cards despite a change to the law this year making it illegal.

Following a complaint made against him to Trading Standards, Bal Virdi, manager of the Londis store on Montague Street, claims it is perfectly legal to charge a maximum ‘service fee’ payment of 50p, despite it being illegal to charge customers to use debit or credit cards since January 13.

Trading Standards have refused to comment on this specific complaint but confirmed it is illegal to charge service fees on debit or credit card transactions.

Mr Virdi said: “There is a minimum charge that can be made. Which is up to 50p. As long as you tell the customer.

“The banks charge us about three per cent. So we have to get that money back.

“If people say I will go the bank and get money then that’s good.

“Trading Standards came to see me. I told them the newspapers in January clearly said that the minimum payment still stands. They didn’t know this. They said they will call me back.”

The Buteman was alerted to the practice at the Rothesay store by James Wales from the mainland, who regularly visits the island to see his mum who has a holiday home here.

He said: “I was over seeing my mum when I went into the shop and was charged for using my card.

“I just feel locals are getting ripped off by this. I showed the shopkeeper the proof of the law change on my phone. That charging for using debit cards had been barred by the government.

“I have reported him to Trading Standards. The guy just wouldn’t listen.

“He is blatantly taking money off customers when he isn’t legally entitled to.”

A spokesman for Argyll and Bute Council’s Trading Standards said: “We can’t comment on individual cases, but we would investigate any allegations of inappropriate pricing practices by retailers in Argyll and Bute.”

The regulations introduced in January are based on an EU directive which will apply throughout the EU – but as this is a UK law change the new rules will continue to apply after Brexit.