Media Releases

Bunnies, chocolate eggs, hot cross buns… and surcharges

13 April 2017

With the Easter holiday upon us, the Commerce Commission is again reminding businesses that if they apply a surcharge it must be clearly and accurately disclosed to customers.

“The Commission is frequently asked if surcharges are lawful - yes, they are. However, if businesses choose to impose a surcharge, they must tell their customers they have done so and they must be clear about what it’s for,” said Antonia Horrocks, the Commission’s General Manager, Competition.

When applying a surcharge, there are two key things businesses must do:

  • Ensure customers are made aware of the surcharge before they make a decision to purchase, so they can decide whether to pay it or go elsewhere.
  • Accurately describe the reason for the surcharge. For example businesses must not claim their surcharge on Easter Sunday is because it is a public holiday, as the only public holidays over the Easter weekend are Good Friday and Easter Monday.

“We urge businesses to ensure they comply with the law and don’t mislead their customers. If consumers feel they have been misled by a surcharge, they can contact the Commission on 0800 943 600 or via our website," Ms Horrocks said.