Sun. Dec 4th, 2022
Brussels, 25 July 2022
See question(s) : P-002250/2022
Answer given by Executive Vice-President Vestager
on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission understands that the Maltese Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority is assessing the changes in the pricing structure of the telecom companies under competition law. The Commission cannot comment on such ongoing assessment.
As regards PSD2, the overall analysis of the Commission is that whilst surcharging by payees is banned (charging additional fees depending on the means of payment) for card-based payments, credit transfers and direct debits, PSD2 allows for payees (such as telecom companies) to apply discounts to incentivise the use of a particular payment.
In the present case it seems that the telecom companies increased their base fee in order to get the same outcome as when they were still surcharging for means of payment other than direct debits. It is for the national competent authorities to investigate whether this violates PSD2. The telecom companies must also comply with the EU consumer protection legislation, in particular, with the Directive on unfair commercial practices1 and the Consumer Rights Directive2 that require transparent information about the price and prohibit misleading practices. Furthermore, Article 19 of the Consumer Rights Directive prohibits traders from charging consumers fees for the use of a given means of payment that exceed the cost borne by the traders for the use of those means of payment. The responsibility of monitoring compliance with national legislation transposing the above-mentioned Directives lies with the national authorities.

1 Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22).
2 Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights, amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 85/577/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on consumer rights, OJ L 154, 22.11.2011, p. 64.
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