Bluffs Advocate

Greed

Stop the Pay-to-Pay Ripoff

When an additional charge is just greedy

By Dan Harris, MP, Scarborough South-West

           Ever heard of “pay-to-pay” user fees? Imagine going out for dinner and when you ask for a cheque at the end of the evening the server says, “Yes, I am willing to bring that to you, but only if you agree to pay an additional charge.”
           How would you respond?  With amazement?  With incredulity, anger, disbelief?  Or would your jaw just hit the floor and you’d be unable to speak?
           Well, don’t think this an impossible scenario.  For the last year and half more and more Canadians have been opening the mail, only to be advised by their bank or phone, telecom and utility company that in order to receive a bill in the mail, they are going to have to pay an extra charge.
           There are many things in politics that seem unfair.  There are many things that seem to be fundamentally misguided and wrongheaded.  And then there are times when government policy just seems plain stupid or cruel.
           And there are times when I can only shake my head and wonder how people can get away with such blatant unchecked greed.  And I wonder at how the government of the day can just sit back and watch.
           These “pay-to-pay” fees hurt people.  And those people are usually the most vulnerable and powerless: seniors, the unemployed, the disabled and Canadian families struggling to make ends meet.  These fees are like a slap in the face to people just trying to get by.
           Recently, my colleague Andrew Cash, MP for Davenport, launched a campaign to eliminate extra charges for receiving a monthly paper bill.  Cash is calling on the federal government to prohibit the “pay-to-pay” fees that target vulnerable Canadians, those that do not have regular access to the internet and those that do not feel comfortable performing such transactions on-line.
           Some of the companies are claiming this is a policy to reduce paper usage.  The NDP supports paperless billing but if reducing paper was the objective then why not offer discounts or incentives for customers that use on-line billing rather than penalize those who can’t easily make the transition!  Clearly these fees have nothing to do with reducing paper and everything to do with maximizing profits for large telecom and banking companies.
           These fees are offensive to most Canadians because they can see it as a clear rip off!  These fees have nothing to do with covering the cost of a new service, but are rather new fees for a very old service.
           I encourage everybody to support the campaign to stop this rip off and demand the government prohibit pay to pay fees.  You can help stop this cash grab by signing our petition at www.stoppaytopayfees.ca.

UFCW