21st March 2024

Anglesey TS secures food bank donation

A businessman who made unfair card surcharges has agreed to make a £6,000 charitable donation.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

A prosecution brought by Anglesey Trading Standards has resulted in a local businessman making a £6,000 charitable donation to a local food bank.

Duran Sasmaz, owner of Aran Fish and Chip Shop in Llangefni, pleaded guilty on 13 March to charging customers 50p for making card payments without their knowledge. This was a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations 2008 and Sasmaz was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling of £1,512.

Because it was not possible to identify every customer who had paid the surcharge, on the suggestion of Anglesey Trading Standards Officers Sasmaz also agreed to make a donation to the Anglesey Food Bank.

Councillor Nicola Roberts presents £3,000 to Roy Fyles of Anglesey Food Bank (image credit : Anglesey County Council)

Since January 2018 it has been illegal for retailers to charge for the use of card payment facilities. Businesses can refuse to accept card payment for purchases below a minimum value, provided this is made clear to customers.

Caernarfon Magistrates Court heard that complaints were received by Anglesey Trading Standards in 2019 that Aran Fish and Chip shop was charging 50p per card payment and had a poster on the wall advising this. The business was issued with guidance and advised that surcharges were no longer permitted. However, further complaints were received that charges were still being made but no signage displayed. This resulted in a final written warning in September 2021.

After another complaint in March 2023, a test purchase was made, in which a card payment was charged 50p more than the till receipt. Sasmaz claimed he had reintroduced the charge due to increasing costs but only made the charge on payments under £15.

Investigators found that had the charge been applied to all card payments, it would have resulted in a financial gain in the region of £12,000. As it was not possible to identify the value of individual card payments to only include charges for card payments under £15, both parties agreed to value the gain at £6,100.

Anglesey Council’s Chief Public Protection Officer, Trystan Owen, explained: “Where we have a successful prosecution involving a victim with a quantifiable loss, it is common practice to request that the Court consider issuing a compensation order so that the ill-gotten gains are returned to the victim. However, on this occasion we were unable to identify individual victims, as such it was suggested by Trading Standards Officers that a remorseful Mr Sasmaz may wish to consider a donation to the local Food Bank as a goodwill gesture, to be taken into consideration at court.”

Planning, Public Protection, Planning and Climate Change portfolio holder, Councillor Nicola Roberts, welcomed the successful prosecution. “As a result of this innovative approach by our Trading Standards Officers, a £3,000 cheque has already been presented to Mr Roy Fyles of the Anglesey Food Bank, with assurances that another will also be provided,” she said.

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