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Just Eat adds a cheeky 50p service charge to dodge EU rules

All because the takeaway site won't be allowed to charge card fees soon.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Thanks to new EU regulations, you won't have to put up with irritating card surcharges for much longer. Unfortunately, minimum card spends you come across in small shops and such will stick around, but from January 13th, the Payment Services Directive comes into play. This stops retailers from charging you more for, say, using a credit card than a debit card, or generally just passing the transaction fee onto the customer. It won't, however, make your Just Eat delivery any cheaper. That's because yesterday, ahead of the new EU rules being implemented, Just Eat did away with its 50p fee for paying by card, and instead created a new 50p "service charge" that applies to all orders.

What's particularly cheeky is pay-by-cash customers now also have to fish between the sofa cushions for an extra coin -- a move Just Eat calls "fairness for all" (lol) -- meaning it's making even more moolah while sticking a middle finger up to the spirit of the EU directive. Just Eat told the BBC it had previously thought about tweaking charges, while also totally confessing that "the change to legislation did play a part in prompting the review." A spokesperson also said, predictably, that it'll enable the company to keep providing its stellar services: "The 50p charge simply means that along with our restaurant partners, we can continue to deliver the best possible takeaway experience."

Just Eat hasn't actually done anything too surprising. You don't need a degree in economics to imagine companies are going to try to dodge the EU directive by renaming charges so they aren't as obviously linked to card transaction fees. The other option would be to just increase the price of goods and services to reflect the card charge vacuum that now exists. Classic 'business is business' stuff, though we'll see how Trading Standards feels about this kind of trickery when it actually has to start enforcing the new rules. And in Just Eat's case, it's gotta pad the bank account for when it eventually swallows Hungryhouse whole.

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