As you may have heard, beginning October 6, 2022, businesses across Canada (excluding Quebec) will be allowed to add a credit card processing fee to their customers’ bills. In fact, in August, Telus submitted a request to the CRTC to add such a fee to their bills. While we’ll go into what we think about this in some detail below, we should make it abundantly clear that Beanfield will never do this. As a community-oriented and equity-focused company founded on the belief that everyone deserves quality connectivity at a fair price, it goes against the very ethos of our company to pass along a fee like this. Our cost of doing business is OUR cost of doing business, not our customers’. Yes, we are a for-profit business, but padding that by adding the processing fee credit card companies charge us seems just plain…wrong.
Now, for small businesses with profits at the margin, and especially after a punishing pandemic, this fee is consequential and we support each small business in making the call they deem to be in their and their customers’ best interests. However, in an enormously profitable, oligopolistic telecommunications market, we think the metric should be different.
So, why a credit card processing fee and why now?
Well, here is a more in-depth explainer but the gist is that this is a result of a 2018 settlement of a lawsuit which did two things: First, it allowed businesses to get a partial rebate on these fees from 2001 to 2021. Second, as of October 6, 2022 it allows businesses the ability to pass on these fees to customers by adding a surcharge to the bill.
The public’s response to Telus’ application has been unequivocal with more than 3900 comments and responses to the CRTC as of October 11, 2022. This unprecedented public outcry demonstrates that Canadians are extremely concerned about the already high cost of their telecommunication services going up even further. We all know that Canadian consumers experience some of the highest telecommunication costs in the world, so it seems patently unfair when a tremendously profitable company decides to add another 1.5% to its bottom line.
More to the point however, it speaks to the type of attitude so many incumbent telcos have. Not only do they have a disproportionate market share that suffocates competition and ensures Canada continues to rank as one of the most expensive countries for telecom services, they believe that captive consumers have no choice BUT to pay the extra 1.5%. To us it’s dismissive and is even further evidence that we need more competition in this industry.
If you also think this is wrong, let the CRTC know. You can have your say here!