The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a legal action against car rental company Europcar for allegedly imposing excessive credit and debit card surcharges.

ACCC alleged that Europcar customers making payments with Visa or Mastercard credit cards between July and August last year were charged more than the costs incurred by the company for accepting those transactions.

In addition, the ACCC alleged that the company imposed excessive payment surcharges on customers who used Visa or Mastercard debit cards from July to 5 November 2017.

The commission noted surcharges of up to 1.43%, with the overcharged amount varying from 0.18 to 0.65 percentage points based on the type of card and time period.

Furthermore, Europcar was accused of ignoring its bank, which notified it in July last year regarding the actual cost to accept these card payments.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “The alleged conduct by Europcar in relation to its surcharge rates is particularly concerning, given we will allege that it was well aware of its own cost of acceptance from at least July 2017.

“Businesses must not charge customers more than it costs them to process a card payment. The ACCC’s action serves as a warning that the ACCC is paying close attention to those businesses who seek to overcharge customers making payments by credit or debit cards.”