THE Consumer Council has been urged to step up protection for credit card users frequently asked to pay surcharges and handling fees by shops and travel agents. The Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) polled 22 travel agents and found 11 imposed surcharges on credit card users. Some card holders had to pay a surcharge of up to four per cent on hotel room rates booked through the travel agents. For air tickets, some companies would ask for an additional fee of up to 3.5 per cent of the ticket price. ADPL spokesman Ting Yin-wah urged the Consumer Council to ensure shoppers did not have to pay for shops' arrangements with credit card firms. Mr Ting said the arrangements were unfair to the card users because they already had to pay an annual service fee for their cards. He said it was unreasonable for shops to impose extra charges as a result of their arrangement with credit card companies, because shops benefited from the increased business they got from the use of the cards.