CRTC Delaying Decision to Allow Telus to Pass Along Credit Card Fees

The CRTC has delayed a decision to allow Telus to tack on a 1.5% credit card fee onto bills.

Back in August, we reported on a submission that was made to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission). In that submission, Telus asked the CRTC to allow them to tack on a 1.5% fee for customers paying with a credit card.

The request itself sparked fierce backlash from Canadian’s who complain, among other things, that bills are already high, interest rates are rising, and that such fees are already likely accounted for in the bills already. Some accuse the move of being a massive cash grab or another attempt to nickle and dime Canadians (though, it’s definitely much more than nickles and dimes we are talking about here).

Unfortunately, the decision rests with the much less accountable CRTC rather than with lawmakers at this point. The regulator has already caught serious controversies over a string of what the public thinks are bad decisions. Those decisions include the CBC N-Word decision, overturning a decision to keep cell phone and internet rates low, and rubberstamping the Rogers Shaw merger at the earliest possible opportunity. With such a dismal track record of refusing to do their job, when word came around about an added fee, many were no doubt expecting the CRTC to just rubber stamp that decision too.

Word is that this might not actually be the case. As it turns out, the CRTC has delayed the decision to greenlight the Telus request to December. From the CBC:

Canada’s telecommunications regulator has delayed its decision to allow Telus to pass a credit card processing fee onto customers.

In a letter sent Thursday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it may need until Dec. 6 to decide if Telus Corp. could add a 1.5 per cent processing fee to customer bills paid by credit card.

Telus had first filed with the telecommunications commission on Aug. 8, to include the fee in the fall. The standard estimate for a response from the commission was 45 days, or Sept. 22, 2022.

Telus’s surcharge is intended to “cover the processing costs that credit card payments incur,” the telecommunications giant said in their application to the commission. The average cost per customer each month would be about $2, said Telus in an August statement to The Canadian Press.

It’s a bit difficult to see what Public Relations issue this aims to solve here. After all, the Rogers Shaw merger is expected to either go ahead or go by the wayside at the end of the year, so this would effectively move such a decision closer to what could very well be a hugely controversial moment in the world of telecommunications. If the CRTC is hoping to wait for the flack they are receiving now to die down before then, it will only re-ignite if the deal moves ahead. If the intention is to block the move, why wait? It’s a rather puzzling decision to delay such a decision in the first place.

The only silver lining in all of this is that this grants Telus customers a month or a few of reprieve from their rates going up. So, if customers need a little bit more time to sort out how they are going to ditch the credit card in order to pay the bills, then they at least got that granted to them. So, that may be nice at least.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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