CRTC rejects Telus application to charge credit card fee on some customer bills

Canada's telecom regulator has rejected an application by Telus to charge some customers who pay their bill for a home phone line with a credit card.

Ruling only impacts some home phone lines in B.C. and Alberta, so 1.5% can be in place for everything else

Telus had to ask for the CRTC's permission to apply the credit-card fee for home phone lines in rural, remote areas. The request was denied. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Canada's telecom regulator has rejected an application by Telus to charge some customers who pay their bill for a home phone line with a credit card.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said Thursday it has rejected a recent application from the Vancouver-based telecommunications provider to charge customers in remote areas of Alberta and B.C. a fee if they pay their bill for a landline with a credit card.

Telus first floated the idea in August, warning customers it would start charging a fee of up to 1.5 per cent to customers who paid their bills with a credit card. That was related to a recent settlement that allows merchants to pass on so-called interchange fees directly to customers.

Telus's current fee applies on almost any service in any part of the country, but the company had to formally apply for the CRTC's permission to do so for landline services in rural areas, since the regulator has jurisdiction over that.

Regulator not happy with fees

The telecom regulator sought input from the public on the plan, and more than 4,000 Canadians wrote in to share their views. The vast majority were against the plan.

So the CRTC rejected the fee request, but Telus still has carte blanche to levy the surcharge on bills for other services. 

The regulator makes it clear, however, that it's not pleased to see these fees coming in at all.

"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," the regulator said, noting that the fees disproportionately hurt the most vulnerable consumers.

"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."

The regulator said that if the practice continues, it will consider all options at its disposal.

"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," CRTC chair Ian Scott said. "We expect the telecommunications industry to treat Canadians with respect and do better."


Pete Evans

Senior Business Writer

Pete Evans is the senior business writer for Prior to coming to the CBC, his work has appeared in the Globe & Mail, the Financial Post, the Toronto Star, and Canadian Business Magazine. Twitter: @p_evans Email:

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