Consumer Focus point their supercomplaint machine at currency exchange world
Welcome to the age of the supercomplaint! Consumer Focus are at it again, and this time they’ve got the currency exchange ‘industry’ fixed firmly in their sights, claiming that UK holidaymakers are being stung out of their cash by a system of complex charges and misleading information.
At the moment, a whopping £1 billion is charged in currency exchange fees and Consumer Focus have complained to the OFT, disputing that the whole of that amount is warranted. They’ve cited the fact that the conversion of £500 into euros could cost anywhere between £10 and £30, even though the service provided across the board is the same.
They’re also griping about complex card charges that prevent holidaymakers from shopping around for a better deal, charges for buying currency with a card that fail to reflect the costs of processing the payment and hidden mark-ups that make enticing phrases such as ‘0% commission’ misleading.
“Individuals buy holiday money infrequently and so may not shop around much or may just stick with the same supplier,” said Mike O'Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus, adding that “a cocktail of confusing charges and poor transparency means collectively we are losing out in a big way.” Naturally, the banks are huffing about the supercomplaint, moaning that they are disappoinited that Consumer Focus didn’t speak to them first. Because, yeah, that would have really helped wouldn’t it?
The Office of Fair Trading has 90 days to respond by stating what action, if any, it plans to take on the issue and the reasons behind its decision. Tick... tick... tick....