Chennai: Petroleum dealers in Tamil Nadu today announced they will not accept plastic money starting tomorrow in protest against a one per cent levy plus taxes on all transactions made through debit and credit cards, prompting harried consumers rush to fuel outlets. The Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association said it has received an intimation from banks that a Merchant Discount Rate of one per cent will be levied on all transactions done at the retail fuel outlets from January 9.
“We have suddenly received intimation from the bankers, reneging on their existing agreements with us, and for having decided to levy a Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) of one per cent plus taxes on all transactions done at our outlets,” KP Murali, President of the Association, said. This move was a ‘unilateral’ one by bankers who had installed card swipe machines at the fuel outlets, he added. Protesting the move, Murali said their margins were fixed on a per kilolitre (KL) basis and that they did not have scope to absorb these charges.
“We have specific mechanisms to compute the margin and these do not have any scope for Credit/Debit card MDR. This will lead to financial losses for the dealers,” he said. Further, bankers were also “delaying payments” and not settling the entire dues, he alleged. “The reconciliation of swipes to amount being credited to our accounts is causing a lot of hardships and losses to a large percentage of the dealer community,” he said in a statement.
“We will not be able to withstand the financial losses generated by these transactions and have decided to stop accepting Credit/Debit Cards from January 9, 2017,” he added. Hyder Ali, the association General Secretary, asked, “How can we do our business with losses?”
Murali said the dealers have requested Oil Marketing Companies and various authorities to intervene and address the situation. Meanwhile, the announcement prompted the city motorists to rush to fuel outlets to fill their vehicle tanks by making payments through Debit and credit cards. Many motorists felt this will add to their difficulties with few ATMs dispensing cash due to demonetisation.