Charged up

Canadian consumers now pay companies and banks up to $734 million annually to receive paper bills and statements they used to get for free. It’s not the only hidden fee or surcharge we’ve seen.

35: Dollars in "currency surcharge" imposed by some travel companies on individuals heading south to sunny destinations in January 2014.

2 to 5: Dollars in additional monthly bank fees paid in 2013 by the average Canadian who exceeded his or her bank’s monthly limit on transactions. Even so, a Financial Consumer Agency of Canada survey that year found about 60% of consumers were satisfied with their bank fees.

2.5: Average percent overcharge to consumers at checkout due to scanning errors at major Canadian retailers in 1997. A study by Option consommateurs magazine suggested that sale items were often not properly priced.

84: Percent surcharge on a $448 ticket from Toronto to London, England, in 2008. Fees, including airport improvement, security, passenger and fuel surcharges, bring the total fare to $826.

90: Percent of Canadians opposed to surcharges on credit card purchases, according to a 2010 poll by the Consumer Association of Canada. The poll was undertaken after retailers lobbied for the right to charge consumers a fee for paying by credit card.

154: Millions of dollars Canadian banks are estimated to have earned in 2005 from so-called "convenience fees" charged to customers for using a competing financial institution’s automated teller machine.

230: Percent by which Canadian airport fees are higher than those of US airports, according to Air Canada in 2012. As of March 2014, Vancouver’s airport had collected more than $1.3 billion in "improvement fees" since 1993.

420: Millions of dollars Canadians pay banks in ATM fees each year. In February, federal NDP consumer affairs critic Glenn Thibeault urged the Conservative government to cap bank machine fees at 50¢ per transaction.

About the Author

Steve Brearton


Steve Brearton is a freelance writer in Toronto.

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