The CRTC, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, has ruled against Telus charging customers a credit card fee.
The federal government body denied their request for a credit card fee on home phone lines in rural areas in a published report from December 8.
On October 17 of this year Telus started charging 1.5 percent to customers that pay with a credit card.
However, this ruling isn't considered binding as Telus didn't need their permission in the first place.
The CRTC issued a warning to Telus and other telecommunications service providers that are thinking of imposing such a fee on their customers. Should the practice continue, the CRTC will explore all available regulatory options.
Ian Scott, CTRC Chairperson and CEO, said in their ruling "We heard Canadians loud and clear: close to 4,000 of you told us that you should not be subjected to an additional fee based on the method you choose to pay your bill. We expect the telecommunications industry to treat Canadians with respect and do better.”
Here are some facts that were shared during the hearing:
Since October 6, 2022, most Canadian businesses (except in Quebec) can charge their customers a fee for credit card transactions. This decision is the result of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by retailers against Visa, MasterCard and card-issuing banks. Prior to this settlement, businesses had to absorb the cost associated with credit card payments.
In Quebec, the province’s Consumer Protection Act prohibits the application of such surcharges. Therefore, businesses in Quebec cannot charge their customers a credit card processing fee.
On August 8, 2022, Telus filed an application with the CRTC to introduce, in Alberta and British Columbia, a credit card processing fee of 1.5%, plus applicable taxes, for payments made with a credit card.
For Telus’s regulated services, which only cover a small portion of its customers, the company must seek and receive CRTC approval before it can apply charges to its customers.
The CRTC regulates services in certain markets where there is not enough competition to protect the interests of consumers. Services regulated by the CRTC are often telephone services in rural and remote regions and Internet services when offered using terrestrial facilities in the Far North.
Most telecommunications services, including wireless and Internet services, are not regulated by the CRTC, which means that service providers do not need the CRTC’s approval to modify their rates, terms and conditions.