*** Update June 20, 2023: Telus has removed the 1.5% fee for credit card payments, retroactive as of June 1, 2023.
On September 16, 2022, Telus customers outside of Quebec found out that they will soon be charged a 1.5% service fee when they pay their bill by credit card. To avoid these fees, you can use one-time or automated bank payments, or pay with a Visa Debit, Visa Prepaid or Mastercard Prepaid card.
This move by Telus follows a 2018 class action lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard, where it was decided that such action could be done starting October 6. So far, among the telecom giants, Telus is the only telecom company to charge these additional fees.
This new requirement did not apply to its subsidiary Koodo.
Then, in June 2023, Telus notified its customers that it would no longer charge this 1.5% fee to customers paying by credit card. It’s a turnaround that will satisfy its customers.
Bell, Rogers and Videotron had not made similar announcements to Telus.
However, we need to remain vigilant; there’s always a risk that this new practice will be standardized if other companies, like Rogers, follow in Telus’ footsteps and decide to adopt the same approach. Of course, they will not be able to do so in Quebec as long as the Consumer Protection Law continues to classify this practice as illegal.
This 1.5% charge did not apply to Quebec customers, who are protected by the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
It prohibits charging more than the advertised amount, and states that paying a bill by credit card is not a separate service but rather simply a method of payment. As such, these fees charged to Telus customers are considered illegal in Quebec under the Consumer Protection Law.
If we are not Telus customers or live in Quebec, our first instinct is to think that we have been spared. For the moment, yes. But let’s hope that this practice will not be adopted by other companies.
From a points and benefits perspective, this type of announcement encourages us to purchase our mobile device directly from the manufacturer (Apple, Samsung, etc.) rather than from the mobile network operators for two reasons: to maximize the rewards we can get, and to be able to take advantage of a mobile device insurance and avoid paying 1.5% in service fees (for customers outside Quebec).
If we compare ourselves to other countries, we know that Canadian telecom companies are far from being the most affordable in the world. This news didn’t sit well with Telus customers who use their credit cards to collect points, for cash back or simply out of habit.
Following the June 20, 2023 update, Telus has removed the 1.5% fee for its credit card customers. This is good news for customers. Indeed, some 4,000 people complained about the extra cost. Telus has backed down on its decision, and has been discreet in announcing it.