CRTC rejects Telus’ request to charge credit card processing fee for regulated home telephone services
CRTC warns telecommunications companies against this practice
December 8, 2022 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Today, the CRTC refused Telus’s request to introduce a processing fee in Alberta and British Columbia on payments made by credit card. The request only applied to services that are regulated by the CRTC, which are generally home telephone services in certain smaller communities.
On October 17, 2022, Telus began to charge a 1.5% fee to clients paying by credit card in areas where services are not regulated by the CRTC, which includes its wireless and Internet customers outside of Quebec.
While Telus didn’t need the CRTC’s approval to add the surcharge to its unregulated services, the CRTC is very concerned about this practice as it goes against affordability and consumer interest. In addition, this practice impacts the most vulnerable consumers who rely on credit cards to pay their everyday bills, especially when prices for essential goods and services are rising due to inflation.
The CRTC is sending a clear message 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.
“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.”
- Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC
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.
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