Update 4th September 2020, after a formal threat of legal action, and correspondence with Trading Standards, CCTVTek refunded the unlawfully charged fee. As of today they still make the charge on the website, knowing it to be illegal.

I've used a number of companies over the years to purchase Hikvision (and other) equipment, most recently the preferred source has been CCTVTek.co.uk which have the advantage of being cheaper than most although do send things completely untracked by Royal Mail, so I probably won't use in the future because the last time I was away two days and came home to a box lying in the pouring rain (not their fault, but I digress..)

Anyway, as almost everyone who hasn't been hiding under a rock knows, it became illegal in 2017 to make a charge for paying by card or other alternative means, including the likes of PayPal per 6A of the wonderfully named Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 (As Amended) which were amended by The Payment Services Regulations 2017 (which actually just codifies an EU directive in UK law - going to miss the EU, but that's another matter.)

So, I was surprised to see a £1.22 "Handling Fee" on my order. When I queried it, they replied with "This is a PayPal fee."

Firstly, no. It isn't. It's a CCTVTek fee, you charged it. Secondly, it's illegal (and also a breach of PayPal's terms) so I replied to that effect and was given the following response;

It is a PayPal fee we have added. It is shown upon checkout as per below..

Missing the point here I feel, I reply giving them a more detailed response;

That doesn't make it lawful.

PayPal prohibit such fees. I also strongly suspect it is contrary to the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012.

I appreciate it's a small sum, but it's the principle of the thing and it should not have been charged.

I look froward to having it credited, and trust it will be removed from your website for future orders. Alternatively, the PayPal payment method should removed.

Their final reply?

As mentioned, this was shown upon the checkout, should you not have wished to pay a fee, an alternate payment method should have been chosen.

Now, whoever is answering eMail can be forgiven for not knowing the law at first but I don't know about you but if I received an eMail at work accusing my employer of breaking the law I'd damn well do something more with it, like ask someone more senior? maybe even a director? But, no, the support desk knows best it seems.

So, turning to PayPal... their terms say "If you are a user resident in the UK, you shall not surcharge for the use of our services. ... You acknowledge that you could be committing a criminal offence if you surcharge and/or fail to disclose any form of surcharge to a buyer"

Wow, ok, let's raise this with PayPal then...

"We have to deny your claim. This decision was made because your billing dispute doesn't match our qualification for a billing dispute."

So they don't actually care about enforcing their own terms either.

Next to Trading Standards, let's see if they care (sadly I'm not holding my breath)

Yes, I know it's only £1.22 but it's the principle of the thing, then again if no-one will actually enforce these laws designed to protect the consumer, what's the point in having them?!