The Payment Services Directive (PSD) has established, at European level, the principle that merchants, when accepting cards both at the counter and online, are allowed to recover their fees from the clients (the so-called "surcharging" practice), unless Member States decide to forbid or limit this possibility, in order to encourage competition or promote the use of efficient payment instruments. While the PSD does not make any direct reference to the amount of the surcharging, the wording of its Article 52(3) might be interpreted as authorising only the application of a single surcharge for the use of a given payment instrument such as a payment card for executing a payment transaction. Therefore, several surcharges for a single payment transaction might be considered abusive and having a negative impact on the use of certain payment instruments.
In addition, in accordance with Article 50(1) of the PSD, the airline which request a surcharge has to inform the client thereof prior to the initiation of the payment transaction. If if fails to do so, you might like to raise the issue with the competent authorities for breaches of the national provisions implementing the PSD (see details under: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/payments/docs/framework/transposition/complaints_en.pdf
The Regulation on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community, in force from 1st November 2008, aims at improving price transparency, by specifying that the final price should include all taxes, fees and charges. The Regulation prevents the airlines from misleading the consumers, for example by advertising tax-free-prices where fees and charges are added only at the time of the reservation. According to this Regulation, when booking fees or credit card fees are unavoidable, they should be included in the indicated final price. If a payment fee cannot be included because it is applied per passenger and not per booking, then its existence and amount must be clearly indicated next to the price.
In general, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCP) prohibits consumers from being given unclear, untruthful and incomplete information on the price of a service. In particular, when a commercial communication indicates the price and the characteristics of the service, the price must then include all applicable taxes and additional charges.
The Commission services are monitoring the matter closely. Credit card fees have been the subject of extensive investigations. The Commission is currently coordinating the efforts of the national authorities in charge of airline price transparency. In addition, a reflection is ongoing on the impact of the introduction of the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) tools on cards, including the possible solutions to the potential problems determined by this process.
Finally, in 2007 the European Commission, together with national enforcement authorities, conducted an Internet Sweep in which the websites offering airline tickets were investigated for compliance with consumer law. The websites found in breach of the rules faced enforcement actions, e.g. fines imposed by national authorities. To follow up on the Sweep, in 2008 the Commission contracted a study to check whether air ticket booking sites of airlines and third party agents meet legal requirements. The selected websites (7 per Member State) were checked against a checklist of 14 questions of importance to consumers and following the study, the non-compliant companies were requested to make the necessary corrections on their websites. Data from the study was passed to national enforcement bodies which have the exclusive power to enforce.