Getting a new OPUS card requires users to pay a surcharge and some critics are saying that this added fee is completely illegal.
Non-photo ID OPUS cards issued out after 2012 have a 4-year lifespan before needing to be renewed. And apparently since January of 2017 the STM and related transport companies have been charging users a $6 fee to get a new card.
Quebec’s Office of Consumer Protection, however, says that the added $6 fee is illegal, at least in its interpretation of the province’s Consumer Protection Act.
Citing sections 187.1 and 79.3 of the Consumer Protection Act, a spokesman for the Office of Consumer Protection told TVA that, when it comes to prepaid cards like OPUS cards, businesses (in this case the STM) “must provide a new card free of charge to the consumer.”
For the longest time OPUS cards never had an expiration date and thus no added $6 fee. It wasn’t until 2012 that the STM began stamping expiry dates on the back of OPUS cards and requiring users to get a new one every four years.
Defending the surcharge, spokesperson for the STM Amélie Régis said that the transit company makes no money off of the $6 fee. According to the STM, the $6 goes towards the cost of production for new cards.
Besides, the STM doesn’t see itself as a typical commercial business and is therefore exempt from the Consumer Protection Act.
Régis, speaking on behalf of the STM, said that the transit company is “not a commercial trader within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act” and that the OPUS card is “neither a prepared card nor a gift card.”
Basically, the STM believes it doesn’t need to follow the rules of the CPA
Anyone miffed about the $6 charge is invited to file a complaint and contact the Office of Consumer Protection.
To see what other transit companies across Canada charge for new cards (if anything) TVA has a breakdown of costs here.