Pieter Neleman normally uses the Yale Road Caltex station without paying Eftpos surcharges, but the Thornlie Square Caltex, 3km away, charged him 17c for Eftpos late last year.
He later queried the charge at the station, where he said the manager produced a charges warning sign from behind the counter that had not been visible during his first transaction.
Mr Neleman said if stations charged everyone using Eftpos this small amount, it would add up to significant amounts of money. He expected many people would assume Eftpos was always free to use and so would not habitually check their receipts.
Gosnells MLA Chris Tallentire said that on behalf of locals who contacted him about this issue, he sought confirmation from Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s office, which confirmed fuel stations could choose to charge for Eftpos if they displayed warning signs.
He said they could not try to give customers the impression that the surcharges were mandatory.
A Caltex spokesman said Caltex did not apply Eftpos charges at sites it ran but it could not legally control its franchisees’ surcharge decisions.
Caltex Thornlie Square manager Shirley Xu said warning signs were always displayed at the counter and the pumps, but the station had stopped surcharges for Eftpos in December, after she had passed multiple customer complaints on to the franchisee.
On March 18, Visa introduced new rules trying to limit fees retailers can charge their customers for paying with credit or debit cards.
This followed regulatory changes the Reserve Bank of Australia announced last year allowing card schemes to limit retailers’ surcharges to how much it cost them to process the payments.
– Those who feel they have been charged unfairly should call the Australian Securities and Investment Commission on 1300 300 630.