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You asked, we listened.
Our last article answering your credit card surcharge questions generated a lot of follow-up, so we’re back with more answers about the extra fees you may see when using a Visa or MasterCard.
Will businesses have to notify customers that a surcharge is being applied?
Businesses that apply a surcharge must make it clear to customers that they are doing so – and there is strict protocol involved.
For brick-and-mortar stores, merchants will have to make sure they have a sign on the door saying they intend to charge a surcharge for credit card transactions, said Corinne Pohlmann, senior vice-president of national affairs and partnerships at the Canadian Federation of Independents. Enterprises (CFIB).
“We’re actually creating some templates right now to help businesses make sure they’re in compliance,” she said.
A second credit card surcharge sign must be present at the point of sale, which should also specify the amount that will be charged for using Visa or MasterCard.
According to Luciana Brasil, a partner at the Vancouver-based law firm Branch MacMaster, who worked on the class action, the dollar amount of the surcharge should appear in addition to the label on the transaction receipt that the merchant provides to its customers. which resulted in a settlement.
Online transactions should be alerted when you press the cashier part of the transaction before completing the payment, Pohlmann explained. A surcharge, if applied to an online transaction, will also appear on your receipt.
Some businesses have already informed customers of their intention to start charging a credit card surcharge, including telecommunications provider Telus. You won’t see this in Quebec, however, as customers there are protected from the surcharge under the province’s Consumer Protection Act.
Will the surcharge be added before tax or after tax?
Under the recent settlement, the surcharge will be added before taxes, Brazil said.
Will the surcharge be refunded when returning the purchased goods?
The short answer is yes.
If you were charged an extra fee during your purchase and decide to return the purchase, the fee will be refunded to you.
“A full refund requires a refund of the entire surcharge, while a partial refund only requires the corresponding portion of the surcharge,” Brasil explained.
Will all card companies play by the same rules?
At this time, surcharges are only allowed for Visa and MasterCard, as those were the two companies involved in the class action. American Express and other credit cards were not part of the lawsuit or settlement.
“If merchants wish to charge fees to credit cards issued by any other credit card service provider, they should check with that provider and their policies to ensure this is permitted,” Brasil said.
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