UPDATED: Debit Cards: Don’t Pay To Pay


In Quebec we use the French term depaneurs, often shortened to dep,  but elsewhere they are know as convenience stores. Often mom and pop establishments that specialize in basics such as milk and bread. They also depend on beer and cigarette sales to get by. They are situated in many handy places and, as the name implies, provide consumers with the convenience of being able to pick up items without having to trek to a larger outlet. For this convenience the consumer pays a higher price than they would at the big stores. But recently I have noticed a nasty little ploy that some depaneur owners are employing; making customers pay extra for debit card purchases.

I don’t know if it is legal to charge a fee, usually fifty cents, to pay with a debit card, but it sure doesn’t make any retail sense to make people “pay to pay”.

I don’t know if it is legal to charge a fee, usually fifty cents, to pay with a debit card, but it sure doesn’t make any retail sense to make people “pay to pay”. I understand that competition is fierce, in fact there are no less than three depaneurs within a nine-iron’s range of my apartment. Given that they all sell pretty much the same things, and at similar prices, customer service is everything. Asking me to pay to pay isn’t going to make me want to rush back.

Some places limit the gash grab to those clients who purchase only lottery tickets, claiming they make no money from the sale and therefore lose by having to pay the fee charged by the debit giant Interac. The Loto-Quebec machines are allegedly just a service offered by the depaneur, and used to pull people in, although they do stand to make a bonus for winning tickets sold. To charge an additional fee for Loto-Quebec tickets is in clear violation of the Loto-Quebec Retailers Agreement which states that it is forbidden to sell lottery tickets at a price other than that printed on said ticket. How then did my $10 chance at retirement from a big 6/49 win come to cost $10.50?

From Loto-Quebec Retailers Agreement

From Loto-Quebec Retailers Agreement

If these store owners want customers to pay a fee to offset the debit card charges they must pay, what’s next? A fee of a dollar per purchase to cover wear and tear on the cash register? A few bucks per case of beer for the electricity?

The fact is that the debit card charges levied by Interac and others could easily be hidden in product prices, but of course that doesn’t work with lottery tickets. Asking people to pay to pay is downright annoying.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+



4 thoughts on “UPDATED: Debit Cards: Don’t Pay To Pay

  1. Massachusetts solves the lottery ticket issue by requires all lottery tickets be bought with cash only. As for the rest of it, they tried a “credit card surcharge.” Which is how come almost all the convenience stores went out of business. The convenience was not enough when. an extra couple of minutes in the car got you to the “real” grocery store. Where you can get your beer, cigs, and tickets. I don’t think it IS legal here to add a surcharge to plastic, but it didn’t matter. It backfired completely. In the end, it turned out pretty much no one was willing to “pay to play.”

    • Are you in Boston? I love Boston. Of course not the Bruins, but the city. The concept of paying a fee to pay your bill is lost on me. It’s like charging admission to enter a department store. I like the Red Sox, but did I mention not the Bruins? Oh I did.

  2. I am wondering if this is the dep that is part of “The Big Red Dog”!

    If it is, despite its proximity, I stopped going there over a year ago – the owners have no concept of what entails good customer service.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s