Telus wants to pass on credit card fees to its customers outside of Quebec

Telus clarified that the fee will not apply to customers in Quebec or a Koodo subsidiary. (Photo: 123RF)

Ottawa – Telecommunications giant Telus wants to pass on to its customers outside of Quebec the fees charged to them by credit card networks and wants to impose a 1.5% “handling fee” on them from October 17 if they pay their bill in this way. . Bell, Rogers, and Videotron remain silent on their intentions.

The surcharge is intended to “cover the cost of processing credit card payments” and will apply to the total bill of current and future customers, Telus said in a letter to the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The document, dated Monday, seeks regulatory approval to add a fee to the terms of service section. The company, which is headquartered in Vancouver, specifies that this fee will itself be taxed.

In a statement provided to The Canadian Press, Telus says “the average cost will be around $2” and that its customers can avoid these fees by choosing a different bill payment method, such as one-time bank payments, ATM bank payments, and a Visa debit card. . , Visa Prepaid and Mastercard Prepaid.

Telus also clarified that the fee will not apply to customers in Quebec or a Koodo subsidiary.

In Quebec, the Consumer Protection Act prohibits charging more than advertised. In a 2015 decision, the Supreme Court of Quebec confirmed that the ability to pay a bill with a debit card is not a service other than a paid service or product, but a payment method.

The fees that Telus wants to introduce in other parts of the country are “currently not allowed” in Quebec, Francis Berube, director of provincial affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) Quebec, summed up in an interview.

He noted that a group of 95,000 small and medium enterprises across the country would like Quebec companies to be able to charge such fees, but above all, he believes that payment networks should reduce the amount they charge merchants, which reduces their profitability. especially when using credit. cards has been growing since the beginning of the pandemic.

Telus declined to answer many questions, including whether it would cut its rates in return, explain why the announcement to customers is made prior to the CRTC’s decision, or even how much of income generated by individuals is currently paid by credit card.

Telus recalls in its letter to the CRTC that the 2018 class action lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard ended in a settlement where the payment networks agreed to change their rules and allow merchants to charge additional fees from October 6th.

Credit card issuers charge merchants exchange rates, which are a commission charged on each sale. These fees can range from around 1% of the purchase amount for basic cards to almost 3% for cards that offer rewards such as cashback or loyalty points.

Telus tells the CRTC that it plans to issue commission notices to its existing customers starting in mid-August.

However, the organization said citizens can voice their concerns by filing an “intervention” with the Telus request within 30 days of receiving the request, or by September 7th. The process stipulates that the company will have ten days to respond to comments. The file will then be examined and a decision will be made.

At press time, and more than 24 hours after being questioned by Bell, Rogers and Videotron had not responded to a request from The Canadian Press to find out if they intended to follow in their rival’s footsteps. CRTC also did not receive a request similar to that of Telus.


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