Jan 14/08: Peter Julian, MP: Telus is "price gouging" with their new Long Distance Network Access Fee ...
Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian, along with a trio of
concerned seniors, challenged Telus CEO Darren Entwhistle to cancel a
new long distance fee this week.
At a press conference Wednesday, Julian called the new Long Distance
Network Access Fee “price gouging” that will impact seniors and others
on limited incomes.
Telus recently introduced the $2.95 long distance fee for customers
who use long distance but don’t have a plan.
“What Telus is doing is imposing $2.95 on citizens for nothing,” said
“I’m calling on Telus to stop being Scrooge and take off this
appallingly unfair fee.”
Julian also questioned the necessity of Telus charging the access fee
in light of the company’s 2007 third-quarter net profits of $410
“It simply goes into the bottom line to increase their profits,” said
Burnaby senior Lorraine Browne slammed the new Long Distance Access
Fee in a NewsLeader story in October, ultimately deciding to cancel
her Telus service rather than pay the fee.
Other seniors spoke out against the new fee Wednesday, including
Arthur Kube, acting president of the Council of Senior Citizens’
Organizations of BC (COSCO).
“They’re gouging us for close to $3 a month for a service we already
pay for,” said Kube.
Kube blamed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission—which has opted not to regulate the price and terms of
service of local residential phone service—for allowing Telus to
introduce the fee.
“The CRTC should reverse its position and ensure customers aren’t
gouged,” said Kube.
But Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said the MP and local seniors are
misleading the public about a routine fee increase.
“It would have been nice if they’d actually gotten their facts
straight,” said Hall.
Hall ruled out the possibility of Telus eliminating the fee, calling
it a reasonable fee increase that helps the phone company cover the
cost of providing long distance services, with the company spending
more than $2 billion in infrastructure investments in 2007 and 2008.
“It’s not inexpensive to maintain our customers’ access to the
The Long Distance Network Access Fee is just one option customers can
choose from, added Hall. Users can opt for a long distance plan that
comes with a $4.95 system access fee, or have the fee waived by
choosing the call guardian feature which blocks access to long
distance from phones.
“The fee only applies to people who use long distance and don’t have a
plan,” said Hall.
Customers who make at least 10 minutes of non-local calls per month
would likely save money with a plan, Hall added.
Should Telus choose not to cancel the fee, Julian said he would pursue
the issue with the CRTC and in the House of Commons.