CUSTOMERS who pay cash should not be penalised - with higher cost - because of fees that must be borne by credit card transactions, says the Fiji Fuel Retailers Association.
The association made the comment as the country awaits a decision over consultations that would determine whether surcharge fees would be banned on the use of credit and debit cards.
FFRA company secretary John Philp said the retailer or merchant had to recover the cost of credit and debit card transactions and built it into costs in another part of the business which the cash customer ultimately paid for.
Merchants were on the losing end if surcharge fees were not levied, he said.
Merchants could barely recover the cost of offering the use of Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale (EFTPOS) facilities at their retail outlets for credit card and debit card transactions, he said.
Mr Philp said merchants paid the bank for use of the facility which was anywhere between 3.5 per cent and 5 per cent.
This, as the Consumer Council of Fiji maintained that such a cost must be the responsibility of the merchants and not the consumers.
Mr Philp said merchants should not be penalised for the actions of the few traders that levied excessive surcharges rates on consumers.
"Most of us are just recovering costs in a market where price control is more and more pervasive and our margins are getting thinner and thinner.
"We believe in surcharging as it reflects the true cost of a sale.
"All we are asking for is a level playing field and for the true costs of business to be passed on," he said.
"How can service stations in Fiji accept credit cards at a cost of around 5 per cent commission rate when we make around 2.3 per cent gross margin on fuel?"