I recently booked a flight to London on British Airways' Australian website using an Australian credit card.

9 replies

DanBNE

BA

Member since 11 Jul 2013

Total posts 4

I recently booked a flight to London on British Airways' Australian website using an Australian credit card. The charge was in Australian dollars. My credit card company however have charged me an overseas transaction charge because they say the BA website is outside of Australia.

Has this or anything similar happened to anyone else?

pab2025

Member since 25 Jun 2012

Total posts 99

I would simply call your bank and argue the charge. If it was processed in AUD then you shouldn't be charged another conversion fee.

Usually if the bank wants to keep your business then they will reverse the charge.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

My bank would itemise the amount in original (foreign) currency and the AUD equivelant in the statement followed by another transaction of 3% or 3.5% (depending on the card used) to show the "overseas transaction charge".

Does this show up on your online or paper statement?

If the foreign currency and AUD equivelants are both itemised on the statement, raise a dispute with the bank by showing them your invoice or online ticket receipt from BA shows charges in AUD only.

If however only the AUD amount is itemised on the statement, find out the currency that the merchant (BA) has charged. If the merchant has charged in AUD, then challenge them on the basis that they have no cause for charging the "overseas transaction charge". If the merchant has charged in the foreign currency raise the issue with BA and find out why there is an inconsitency between the invoice/online ticket receipt and the amounts eventually charged.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Phil Young

Qantas

Member since 22 Oct 2012

Total posts 193

Unfortunately, the internet is not this simple.  Whilst it appears as if you're using an Australian website, you're merely seeing a version of BA's website that has been configured for Australian users, quoting in Australian dollars so that you don't have to keep on doing currency conversions.  In fact, all of BA's websites may well be hosted in India for all we know.  It's highly unlikely that the payment from you was received by BA in Australia.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

Phil I disagree. I bought a BA ticket online from their Singapore miror site. I was quoted a fare in SGD and was subsequently charged in SGD.

My credit card statement showed the charge in SGD and I was billed by my bank for the AUD equivelant plus a 3% "overseas transaction charge".

madge

Member since 07 Aug 2012

Total posts 58

I booked with BA earlier this year - once in AUD and once in GBP. The AUD charge attracted no foreign transaction  fee, but obviously the GBP one did.

It seems like BA has the ability to charge in AUD using it's UK-based merchant account, so your bank has decided to levy a foreign transaction fee. I would call the bank and give them a piece of my mind, and be fully prepared to take your business elsewhere.

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 02 Jul 2011

Total posts 835

It is an unofortunate issue that some Australian financial institutions are doing with companies based overseas, even though the transaction is billed in AUD dollars and may even the goods/ services may take place in Australia.

Have had this happen a number of times to me, most recently with Uber.

danielm873

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Silver

Member since 15 May 2012

Total posts 30

Having worked for a bank, the reason it is charged is although it states the cost as being in AUD, because the amount has to be converted to the currency that the airline uses normally and for where the airline is based (I.e. AUD to GBP), the bank has to convert the funds as BA doesn't want to be paid in AUD but in GBP instead, but it's easier to state a fare in AUD for ease of having to convert currencies for the purchaser.  It is a very sneaky charge, but one that most credit cards carry unortunately.

TheRealBabushka

Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,059

But if the airline is offering to charge in AUD then they are taking that forex risk. They shouldn't try to transfer the risk to the banks.

The consideration for the offer was stipulated in AUD. Surely the contract stands on the basis of this consideration? Would altering the currency change the offer that had been accepted thereby breaching the contract?

DanBNE

BA

Member since 11 Jul 2013

Total posts 4

Thanks for your replies folks. The  terms and conditions for the credit card state that it doesn't matter if the currency is AUD or not. What seems to matter is where the merchant is located. 

I did contact BA to enquire if they had heard of this before. After much consulting, the person I spoke to said they had not and he genuinely appeared surprised. I asked if he would put that in an email. He said he would ask but I haven't received one yet!

I think my fight is with the credit card company (HSBC). I don't see why if the bill is in AUD that they are exposed to any currency risk or charge. The clause concerned is in the section entitled "How we process transactions if the card is used outside Australia". To the best of my knowledge and belief, I was using the card in Australia. The internet provides no visibility as to where a card is used. 

I will first try the bank and failing that the Financial Ombudsman. 

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