Credit card surcharges and hidden fees will soon be a thing of the past.

Under the new European Union consumer directive coming into effect today traders will no longer be able to charge hidden fees that exceed the actual cost of processing a card.

Consumers are often caught out by these hidden charges by pre-ticked boxes, which are also now banned. Traders will also have to disclose the total cost of a good or service before an order is placed.

Hidden fees or credit card surcharges are often common when making concert bookings.

New protections for online consumers have also been introduced.

The ‘cooling off’ period on an online order will increase from 7 to 14 days, and traders must now refund customers within 14 days instead of 30 days following an online cancellation.

Consumers who buy music, films and books in digital format can now avail of a cooling off period for the first time.

This covers up to the time the shopper consents to the actual downloading of a product.

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