It’s probably a thought that comes to mind each time you enter a paid parking lot: why do you have to pay a surcharge when you choose to use a Touch n’ Go card to pay the parking fees? Well, that’s what several consumer group are questioning in an article by NST.

“Ten per cent is not a small amount of money. Even banks pay 3-4% for fixed deposits. Touch ‘n Go should not allow these building owners to take advantage of the consumers,” said Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association president, Datuk Nadzim Johan.

“Even credit card providers did not allow operators to charge extra. For example, companies like American Express will not allow additional charges by retailers, and if there are any, action will be taken,” he added.

Aina Abdullah, head of corporate sales, marketing and communication at Touch n’ Go said the 10% (or 20 sen) surcharge is the standard amount charged by mutual agreement between Touch n’ Go, the parking operator and building owner.

“The parking surcharge is standard at 10% per transaction at all locations. There is an exception of 20 sen at selected sites depending on the mutual agreement between Touch n’ Go, the parking operator and building owner,” she explained.

“Touch ‘n Go only gets a certain portion at settlement and processing fees. The additional charges served as service fee for the extra convenience offered when you park with Touch ‘n Go and also to cover the maintenance & system upgrades. Over the years, Touch n’ Go is progressively working towards implementing parking sites with no surcharge,” she added.

In a somewhat related matter, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations president, Datuk Marimuthu Nadason wants Touch n’ Go to improve its level of service as well as introduce new value-added services.

He noted that a monitoring body should be set up to monitor Touch n’ Go, which is “operating as a monopoly.” “Right now, everyone is going cashless. If each person puts in RM200 at any one time, Touch n’ Go will be holding RM200 million. Essentially, this is money given in advance without services (rendered),” he said.

“If you put it in the bank, you will get interest. They have a guaranteed business. They have to improve services at all locations. They have a monopoly, and there is no competition. They need to give the services to the public,” he continued.

What are your thoughts on the surcharge imposed on consumers who want to use their Touch n’ Go card? Share them with us in the comments section below.