Surcharges on cards an inappropriate cost

The Competition Bureau is currently considering allowing businesses to add surcharges to the bills of customers who pay with a charge card.

To the Editor,

The Competition Bureau is currently considering allowing businesses to add surcharges to the bills of customers who pay with a charge card.

Businesses claim the fees they have to pay the credit card companies unfairly penalize their cash customers. They seem to ignore the benefits they receive from the credit card companies.

With charge purchases, businesses don’t have to worry about bad cheques, delinquent accounts or counterfeit money. And charge card customers, on average, spend more.

Customers having to wait in line behind someone trying to pay with a cheque, could also result in lost business. Or will we all be expected to run around shopping with wads of cash in our pockets.

That could explain the federal government’s plans to build more prisons – to house all the resulting pick-pockets and muggers.

Also, getting customers used to carrying large amounts of cash to get the best price would be a boon for the underground economy.

It’s bad enough that airlines are allowed to advertise prices without including all the added fees and surcharges. Extending this practice to the rest of the business community does not seem like a step in the right direction.

If this practice gets approved, it would mean the advertised price for a loaf of bread or jug of milk would only apply to cash customers.

Next, can we expect transportation fuel surcharges on everything and added levies if you shop on Sundays or holidays when labour costs are higher?

Rather than going down this Orwellian route, the Competition Bureau should introduce rules to disallow all price add-ons. That way the advertised prices for airline tickets, ferry tickets and automobiles would be the price customers actually end up paying (plus tax, of course).

Now that would be a step in the right direction.

S.I. Petersen

Nanaimo