14TH ANNUAL CHOICE
10 OCTOBER 2019
The Shonky for Taxiing down the runaway charges goes to... Cabcharge
So you book a taxi, take the scenic route down to Shonkytown and the fare comes to $42.10, including booking fee, flagfall, applicable road tolls, night loading and GST. Unfortunately, the driver hasn't enough change for your $50 note, so rather than give him the $7.90 tip he was probably hoping for, you hand over your credit card – whereupon you're hit with an additional 10% credit card surcharge. This makes a mockery of the typical 1–3% credit card surcharge we seem to be hit with elsewhere these days.
According to Cabcharge, the company responsible for the payment processing infrastructure (card-sticky-inny-machines) in cabs, it's actually not a 'surcharge'. Rather, Cabcharge says, it "applies fees on financial services rather than as a surcharge on the underlying transaction."
Right, so a fee on a financial service. Not a surcharge. Uh, sorry, but if it waddles and quacks like a lame euphemism and charges like a wounded bull, then it's a 10% credit card surcharge. But the sting in the tail is the financial sting at the tail end of the transaction – the GST that's charged for non-Cabcharge credit cards on top of the surcharge. Fee on financial service, that is. So you're actually paying 11%.
We're not the only ones who think it's excessive, and from January 1 next year, new surcharging rules come into play courtesy of the Reserve Bank, whereby surcharges have to reflect the true cost of providing the service. Cabcharge is firmly in the sights of hunters seeking to reduce the waddling, quacking surcharge to a more reasonable level, such as the 5% recommended in the recent taxi inquiry in Victoria.
Naturally, Cabcharge reckons it won't be affected by the new rules. Because it's not a surcharge. Quack.