"Excessive" fees for using a debit or credit card to buy items such as travel or cinema tickets will be banned by the end of 2012, under government plans.Boy! That'll have them quaking in their boots, for sure.
The move comes amid complaints that airlines, booking agencies and even councils were imposing excessive charges for using a card.
However, firms will be allowed to levy a "small charge" to cover payment processing costs.
"Hey, Boss! The government have banned us from charging more than it actually costs for card transactions."Yes, that'll be the gist of the conversation up and down the land soon as traders are stung by this stroke of governmental genius.
"Oh noes, there goes our super-normal profits. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. We'd have gotten away with it too if it weren't for those pesky kids at Which?"
"Yes, Boss, and those politicians are really on the ball, aren't they? They foiled us good, and no mistake!"
They'll never think of absorbing the charges into the price and taking exactly the same money as they did before, that's far too complicated for them, isn't it?
Still, at least those unable to say no when they've had their heart set on the £5 flight - which turns into a £80 one - will be saved from having to develop some self-restraint, and there'll be a job creation or ten to monitor compliance with the new law. So it's definitely worth the consultation exercise, debate hours, legal costs and paperwork involved in placing it on the statute book. Innit.