Telus Submits Plans to CRTC to Tack on a New 1.5% Fee for People Paying Bills Via Credit Card

Paying internet, cell phone, or television bills is going to get a whole lot more expensive should Telus gets its way with a new fee.

It seems that everywhere you turn, internet and cell phone bills keep going higher. The only thing Telecom monopolies do about it just keep jacking up those fees further. In a recent submission, Telus is asking for permission to tack on a brand new fee. If you pay your bills via credit card, you’ll be asked to pay an additional 1.5% fee plus applicable taxes. It’s a move so asinine, Canadian airline companies are probably furiously taking down notes right now. From Mobile Syrup:

Vancouver-based national telecom Telus has filed a request with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to add a credit card processing fee to customers’ bills later this year.

According to a document filed with the CRTC on August 8th, 2022, Telus wants the fee to apply to new and existing customers who make credit card payments for Telus services. The fee would be set at 1.5 percent of the payment amount plus applicable taxes.

In an example based on an Alberta customer, Telus says a $100 bill with $5 in GST would include a $1.58 processing fee and $0.08 in additional GST on said fee, for a total final bill of $106.66.

Telus sites a 2018 class action lawsuit that resulted in Visa and Mastercard agreeing to modify their no-surcharge rules. Both companies previously included clauses in agreements with merchants that prevented them from adding surcharges to cover the cost of transaction fees, which The Globe and Mail explains are used to fund loyalty programs and reward points.

The rule change will come into effect starting October 6th — Telus requested that its new credit card processing fee come into effect on October 17th, 2022. Moreover, Telus says it plans to provide “advanced notice” to customers starting in mid-August.

To say that they want to charge people for paying the bills is absolutely ridiculous is an understatement. The problem is, there is no real telecom competition in Canada, so companies like Telus and Rogers can just charge whatever the heck they feel like and get away with it. It’s not as though customers can “vote with their wallets” if there are no alternatives. Many are speculating that if Telus’ latest plan to further rip you off raise your rates, then the other two or three ISPs are bound to follow suit.

The move comes at an incredibly tone deaf time. Last year, a study concluded that Canadian’s pay some of the highest cell phone rates in the world. What’s more, in the last few months, one of the biggest stories being featured in the news cycle has been about how the “cost of everything is going up” thanks to inflation. Right now, the inflation rate in Canada only slightly bumped back to 8.5% which is slightly lower than the 9.1% rate from June. Many are already complaining about how they are one financial hit away from financial ruin.

What’s more, Canada’s regulator, the CRTC, already has an abysmal track record in recent years where you would be forgiven if you thought that they haven’t met a monopolistic proposal they didn’t like. Already, you have the MVNO decision which jacks rates up further, the reversal of a decision to keep cell phone and internet rates low, and the rubberstamping of the Rogers Shaw merger which made it get one step closer to further destroying what little competition there was left in the market. Anger at the regulator is widespread – and rightfully so.

As a result of past decisions, it seems likely that the CRTC will approve of this plan. After all, they have become the poster child of regulatory capture in all of this. It’s gotten so bad, that it has become increasingly impossible to tell the difference between the CRTC and the corporations it claims to regulate.

As Mobile Syrup suggests, it may be wise to switch payment methods if you are currently paying with a credit card in the next while. Otherwise, you’ll get hit with fees for the apparent expensive task of electronically paying your bills via a credit card. You still have some months to work with, but that might be coming to a close. Some might hold out hope that the CRTC might actually make a good decision for a change and block this asinine plan, but I wouldn’t hold your breath over it.

(Hat tip: @AlsoKnownAs_AA via @OpenMediaorg)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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