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PIAC Research Finds Increasing Legal Risk in Payment Systems Being Borne by Consumers

OTTAWA – A new research report published by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today demonstrates increasing legal risk being borne by consumers when using established as well as new innovative electronic payment systems.

“Consumers are increasingly being asked to shoulder legal risk with online payment methods,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel to PIAC. “Consumer protection in electronic payment systems should be at least as strong as, if not stronger than, protections in traditional payment systems, like paper cheques. Sadly, they are increasingly more risky to consumers, which drives consumers away from realizing the efficiency and advantages of electronic payments.”

The report finds inconsistent allocation of legal risk from electronic payments transactions depending on their form, jurisdictional overlaps and gaps between federal and provincial rules and asymmetrical service provider contracts that leave consumers at a distinct disadvantage.

The report makes four key recommendations towards a universal regulatory framework that is based on principles and consumer safeguards, including: universality and consistency; functional regulation (regulating a function rather than the nature of the provider), accountability; and objectives such as social and financial inclusion.

To see the full report in English, please consult the following link.

To view the report in French, please consult the following link.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has received funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada or of the Government of Canada.

For more information please contact:

John Lawford
Executive Director & General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002 ext. 25
jlawford@piac.ca

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