March 23rd, 2020 - 4:06pm

Consumer Protection

Canadians need full disclosure and protection from being taken advantage of in this crisis

 (Windsor)- Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development and Auto Critic raised concerns about the lack of clarity about the conditions and costs of deferred payments that Canadians are signing up for when they try to get through these difficult times.

“During this public emergency where Canadians are focused on their families, neighbours and communities’ health the need to protect consumers from being taken advantage of financially is especially important, Masse stated.

Companies have publicly announced deferred payments for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak but for example, the 6 month delay the banks are allowing for mortgage payments still has interest accruing daily which is being compounded and added to the principal. Additionally, once payments are stopped and then stated again they cannot be stopped if the borrower has subsequent problems due to the public health crisis.

“This is why the federal government should be moving to ensure that banks waive interest fees and charges on credit cards, bank loans, lines of credit and mortgages for at least the next two payment cycles”, said Masse.

People need to ask questions and know the fine print with regards to these so called “deferred” payments. They need to ask the following:

  1. How long is the deferred payment allowed for and what are the conditions on starting or stopping payments?
  2. Are there any fees or penalties that will be due when the payment is expected to be made?
  3. Is there interest being added to the outstanding amount? How much? What is the interest rate? Is the interest compounded?
  4. Is the company willing to waive these penalties, fees and interest for those people who have lost their jobs or are sick due to COVID-19 or are quarantined or caring for a person who is infected with COVID-19?

All companies need to fully disclose answers to these questions in a simple and accessible way to all their customers. Regulators at both the federal and provincial level need to be more vigilant in their monitoring, investigation and enforcement actions.