Merchants respond to Flaherty announcement of new rules for credit card companies

    TORONTO, May 21 /CNW/ - New credit card rules announced today by Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty are an important first step to confronting the power of
the credit card companies, but the federal government will also need to
address the concerns of Canadian merchants, says Diane Brisebois, President of
the Retail Council of Canada and Chair of the StopStickingItToUs coalition,
representing over 250,000 Canadian businesses.
    "We are pleased that the Minister has taken these steps today," Ms.
Brisebois commented. "It demonstrates that the federal government recognizes
just how serious the problem has become. We have made the Minister aware that
merchants also need help urgently. Our members have no power to contain the
fees that the credit card duopoly imposes on them; many have seen double-digit
cost increases in the last year. It will be vital to the success of today's
measures to ensure that the credit card duopoly doesn't follow its usual
practice and pass these costs on to merchants and consumers in the form of
hidden fees."
    "The Minister has told us that he is paying very close attention to
Parliamentary hearings on the matter and we are optimistic that he will act
decisively following the reports of the House and Senate committees", Ms.
Brisebois noted.
    Ms. Brisebois said that today's announcement is part of a visible trend
by governments to respond to recent abuses. "This announcement aimed at
consumers, reflects the concerns Members of Parliament have been hearing in
recent months. This week the US Congress passed legislation restraining credit
card abuse in that country. Countries like Australia have already moved to
restrict charges to merchants as well. It's clear governments are getting the
message that the power of the credit card companies must be addressed."
    The Retail Council appeared last week in Parliamentary hearings in Ottawa
and will continue to call for restraint of fast-rising credit card charges to
merchants, as well as protection of the Canadian debit system, Interac.

For further information:

For further information: Mark Beazley, Director of Communications,
Retail Council of Canada at (416) 922-0553 ext. 228 or

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