Pay your mobile bill with a credit card? You could soon face a new fee for it | CBC News

Spread the love

Canadians who pay their cellphone bill with a credit card could soon see an additional fee every month, if Canada’s telecommunications regulator approves a proposal currently before them.

The telecommunications company Telus is requesting permission from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to add a 1.5 percent surcharge to the bills of customers who pay their bills by credit card. If approved, it would be in effect from October.

For a notional customer in Alberta whose cell phone bill is $100, the charge would bring their bill up to $106.66: $100 for their basic bill, plus $5 for GST, a $1.58 new rate surcharge on top of that, plus another eight cents in GST on top of the surcharge.

“The company plans to provide advance notice of the tariff to its existing customers beginning in mid-August,” Telus said in its letter to the regulator.

The rate could be in force for October

The company is asking the regulator to decide on the proposal by September 7 and would like to start charging the new fee from October 17, and while the CRTC is yet to rule on the matter, in a statement to CBC News, the telecommunications company made the plan sounds like a done deal.

“Beginning in October, Telus home and mobility services customers who choose to make a bill payment by credit card will be charged a 1.5 percent credit card processing fee,” Telus said. CBC News in a statement.

The company also said in the statement that many other essential services already charge a fee to pay with credit cards, including the Canada Revenue Agency, the City of Toronto, and electricity and gas providers such as Enbridge, Epcor, BC Hydro, FortisBC and Alectra. .

“This fee helps us recover a portion of the processing costs we incur to accept credit card payments, and the average cost will be around $2 for most customers,” the company said, noting that you can easily avoid paying through a bank. through a debit transaction or other means.

Although the company did not provide an exact breakdown, Telus says that most of its customers currently pay through a method that would not accrue the fee.

Telus discount add-on brands, including Koodo and Public Mobile, will not be subject to the fee, nor will customers in Quebec.

SEE | Why Canadians pay more for telecommunications services than many other countries:

Do Canadians Pay Too Much for Internet and Cell Phone Service?

Consumer advocate and wireless bill expert Mohammed Halabi helps explain why Internet and mobile phone bills in Canada are so high, and what consumers can do to negotiate lower prices.

Telus’ rationale for the move stems from a development this summer, when credit card firms, including Visa and MasterCard, agreed to a deal that will allow them to repay millions of dollars in credit card processing fees charged to them by merchants. have paid over the years. Crucially, that deal also gives the companies permission to start charging customers those fees directly starting in October, which is what Telus is trying to do.

Previously, many merchants were not allowed to directly charge customers the fees that credit companies charge them for processing sales. Such fees can range from less than one percent of the sale to more than three percent for some premium cards.

Because nearly every part of its business is regulated by the CRTC, Telus needs the regulator to start charging fees that consumers can expect to start seeing soon from a variety of merchants.

CBC News reached out to Rogers and Bell to see if they have similar plans in the works, but representatives from both companies did not respond to that request within one business day.

Some customers are not happy

Some wireless customers aren’t thrilled with the idea. Kenneth Hart of Windsor, Ontario, a Telus customer of 15 years, calls the plan “a money grab.”

Kenneth Hart has been a Telus customer for 15 years and says the company is making a mistake with this new policy. (Kenneth Hart)

“It’s a bad business move,” he told CBC News in an interview. “They have some accountants who tell them this is good. But then you talk about the PR costs, the cost of reputation, and it could create … dissatisfaction for those customers who are already … dissatisfied.”

“This could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Telus only filed the application on Monday, and the CRTC has already heard from more than 200 Canadians through its website, many of whom oppose the plan.

Steve Struthers is one of them. The London, Ontario resident is not a Telus customer, but he took the time to give the regulator his two cents as opposed to the plan.

“Consumers are already extremely stressed with unaffordable housing, rising food prices, expensive gas prices, and wages that aren’t keeping up with any of this,” he told CBC News in an interview.

“I’m pretty sure they could afford to absorb a 1.5 percent credit card fee… It upsets me to learn that cell phone companies aren’t happy with the money they’re making and still want more on an environment where people are reaching their limits in terms of what they can afford.

‘The last thing anyone needs is an additional fee’

Rosa Addario, a spokeswoman for telecoms regulator OpenMedia, says the plan is just the latest way the industry is extracting more revenue from cash-strapped Canadian consumers.

“All three of our telecom providers…reported higher profits, higher revenues and more customers for 2021,” he told CBC News in an interview. “They’re doing better than ever. This is just another way of increasing our bills through shady practices and extra fees and adding things on top of it so we pay even more than we already pay.”

Suze Morrison, a former Ontario MPP, urges the CRTC to reject the proposal, noting that it will disproportionately affect people who are already economically vulnerable.

“Working-class people, low-income people are really struggling to make ends meet right now,” he told CBC News in an interview. “The last thing someone needs is an extra fee just for the way they pay their phone bill to keep their phone lines connected.”

SEE | Canada has 3 main telecommunications providers. Could that change?

Could Canada Grow Beyond the Big 3 Telecoms?

After a national outage from Rogers, John Lawford of the Public Interest Advocacy Center talks to The National’s Andrew Chang about how Canada ended up with just three major telecommunications and whether that can ever change.

While credit card surcharges are creeping into many businesses, he says it’s different for a telecommunications utility to charge them because it’s a necessity.

“A consumer has the option of going to a family restaurant or cooking dinner at home or going to a restaurant that doesn’t charge credit card swiping fees,” he said.

“But we’ve allowed so much consolidation in our telecom industry and there’s such a monopoly in the sector that it’s not like people can say, ‘Okay, well, if you’re going to charge a fee, I’m going to take my business somewhere else. I have no other place to go.”

#Pay #mobile #bill #credit #card #face #fee #CBC #News

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.