Customers and consumer groups have rounded on Just Eat after the company imposed a new service charge on its orders ahead of a looming ban on all card surcharges.
The takeaway delivery app imposed the 50p cost on all its customers from Monday having previously only applied it to online users.
At the same time, the company removed a 50p fee for debit and credit card payments to comply with the change in the law.
The ban on all card fees, enacted by the EU, takes effect on Saturday.
It will remain in place after Britain completes its divorce from Brussels.
Just Eat said: “We were already reviewing our approach to charging for the services we provide to customers on behalf of our restaurants.
“As of 8 January 2018 we have made a change to the way restaurants are charged to process Just Eat orders – a 50p service charge will be implemented for all orders.
“Previously only customers who paid online were charged – we don’t think it’s fair for online payment customers to shoulder the costs associated with cash orders too, which is why we’re introducing a charge applied equally across our customer base.
“The 50p charge simply means that along with our restaurant partners, we can continue to deliver the best possible takeaway experience, and applying the charge equally across the customer base, ensures fairness for all.”
Social media users were among those criticising Just Eat’s decision.
One wrote on Twitter: “@JustEatUK 50p ‘service charge’ are you just blatantly trying to get rid of your customer base? Awful.”
Another said: “Top tip for avoiding the new 50p service charge on all @JustEatUK orders – ring the takeaway yourself and place order. #JustEat #50p #CutOutTheMiddleMan.”
The consumer group Which? called on consumers to be vigilant to ensure the ban on so-called interchange fees “does not result in price increases, minimum spend limits or even cards being refused by retailers.”
Its money expert, Gareth Shaw, added: “These new rules should finally put an end to consumers paying excessive surcharges and additional fees just for using their cards.
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“Trading Standards must now make sure this ban is enforced across the board, and that businesses can’t find sneaky ways around it.”
Just Eat, which joined the ranks of the FTSE 100 late last year, saw its share price fall 1.4% on Tuesday.