The ambush of hidden fees

News release

May 15, 2024 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

Saving money can be challenging these days. Especially when you are buying something you need, only to find that additional fees were tacked on.

Some companies offer low prices to attract consumers, but then add mandatory fees so that the prices are not attainable.

The mandatory fees can include:

  • processing fees
  • booking fees
  • cleaning fees
  • administrative fees

This practice is called drip pricing and is against the law unless the additional fixed charges or fees are imposed by the government, such as sales tax.

If that charge or fee is variable rather than being fixed, it could still raise concerns under the law.

Misleading claims like drip pricing only serve to deceive and harm consumers. They make it difficult to comparison shop and can lead you to make uninformed decisions.

Signs of drip pricing:

  • The price you see is not the price you pay.
  • The true total cost of a product or service is not displayed upfront. You shouldn’t have to scroll down or read the fine print to find the total price of an item.
  • There are additional charges you weren’t expecting. The only mandatory fees you should pay are the ones imposed by the government, such as sales tax.

If you come across one of these practices report it to the Competition Bureau.

The Competition Bureau enforces the Competition Act that addresses drip pricing. The Act has recently been amended to increase the penalties for misleading advertising and deceptive marketing practices.

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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.

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