ccb    In the business lexicon I think polite somehow equals naive or stupid.  Neil Macdonald examines some of the hi-jinks our corporate leadership in Canada feels it can get away with.

“A letter arrived last week from TD Bank. “In order to continue to meet your banking needs …” it began.

Try to guess what came next. Hint: I’m a customer at a Canadian bank.

Sure enough, “We sometimes need to adjust our pricing.”

Unsurprisingly, the prices being adjusted were not being adjusted downward.

As of March, the bank’s “non-TD ATM fee” is being raised 33 per cent.

Fees for cancelling an Interac e-transfer and for holding a post-dated cheque at a branch are going from free to $5. And the fee for transferring a tax-free savings account to another bank is going from free to $75.

These are huge increases, far in excess of growth or individual spending power.

Now, it’s important to understand TD’s position. The bank’s profits were $8.02 billion last year, up only slightly from $7.88 billion the year before.”

Our banks do this sorta shit all the time.  Hmm..bottom line looking a bit thin? Let’s put the screw to our customers, they’ll smile and say ‘thank-you’.

“It’s worth noting, though, that in the U.S., where TD is now a serious player, with more branches than in Canada, the bank plans to impose no fee increases on customers come March.

“Totally different environment,” a TD spokeswoman told me.

Translation: There’s a lot more competition there, and if TD tried charging the sorts of fees it imposes on the bank’s supine Canadian flock, some other U.S. bank would be in there siphoning off business before you could say “special offer.”

Up here in Canada, TD’s letter advises customers that if they don’t want to accept the fee hikes, they are free to close their accounts, “without cost or penalty.”

Generous, that.”

It is really as simple as that?  Because we in Canada don’t allow the wild west capitalism that typifies our good neighbours to the south we have to accept the fact that the fox is in charge of the henhouse?

“It’s all part of being Canadian. The equation is simple: Canadian consumers and workers are protected from certain free-market excesses, but that coddled security comes with a price: oligopolies, in which a few firms dominate, and all the behaviour that flows from that.”

If this is the price we have to pay to be able to weather the financial shit-storms that brew in the US, I might be able to accept that – but I think that the cost benefit analysis is still up for debate.

“If you want a really depressing bit of Canadian reading, go look at the Canadian Competition Bureau’s policy on “price maintenance,” something most of us know as “price-fixing.” 

Certain companies, especially in the luxury trade, try to see to it that their products never go on sale. Rolex is one. Canada Goose, the world-famous Canadian parka-maker, is another.

This offends capitalism: in a free market, one of the few responsibilities of government is to monitor and punish efforts to deaden competition”

Looking at you telecoms :/

“In fact, “price maintenance behaviour” was a criminal act in Canada, until Stephen Harper’s Conservatives changed the law in 2009 (though some forms of price-fixing still remain a crime).

The new law reduced price maintenance to a non-criminal offence, and even at that, it now has to be proven that “price maintenance conduct has had, is having or is likely to have an adverse effect on competition in a market.”

In other words, the government has to prove that price fixing results in fixed prices.”

Another gifted poison pill from our beloved former conservative government. It is shit like this that ruins their airs toward being business friendly and being friends of the market and all of the other hooey they exude from their weaselly mouths.  They lay down on market policy that hugely distorts the market – and in the end makes Canadians pay more – and then have the audacity to make ‘sad face’ and shrug their shoulders laying the blame on the ‘free market’.  Conservative economic policy is made of pure unadulterated rannygazoo from top to bottom.

“After trying to make sense of the gibberish on its website, I asked the Competition Bureau how many times it’s gone after companies for what it calls price maintenance since it issued its new “enforcement guidelines” in 2014.

The answer: None. Zero.

“Nevertheless,” said a spokeswoman in an email, Canadians should rest assured the bureau remains vigilant: “The Competition Bureau will not hesitate to take appropriate action where it believes price maintenance has occurred.”

Okay. Good to know.”

*sigh* – WTG Competition Bureau.  :/

[Source: cbc.ca]

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