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Ontario's new EEE (Electronics) Regulations Start Jan 1 2021

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  • Feb 3rd, 2021 1:29 pm
[OP]
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Apr 11, 2017
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Ontario's new EEE (Electronics) Regulations Start Jan 1 2021

Back in 2019, Ontario transitioned all their electronics fees on tvs printers laptops etc. to $0 because Stewardship Ontario had been overcollecting fees for years and had a big surplus. They decided to use the surplus for the next year and a half while they come up with a new program. This new program is now called Ontario EEE.

Ontario is launching the new Electronics and Electrical Equipment (EEE) regulations starting Jan 1, 2021. This initiative is administered by RPRA and mandates an individual producer responsibility for recycling of electronics. What this means is that the producers/manufacturers of electronics have to pay to recycle end of life equipment. For 2021, this is based on their 2018 sales data by weight. So, for example, if Samsung sold 500,000 kg of ITT/AV (information technology, telecommunications, and audio visual equipment such as televisions, tablets, computers etc.), their 2021 obligation is to recycle/collect 55% of that, for a total 2021 recycling obligation of 275,000 kgs of electronics (doesn't have to be Samsung, it can be ANY brand of ITT/AV collected). Because Samsung might not have their own recycling facilities and hauling trucks, they contract it out to a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO). There are 11 PROS registered to collect on behalf of producers and most major manufacturers and retailers will be contracting out their obligations to a PRO.

What does this mean for the end consumer?
Unlike in previous years (and currently in other provinces) where we saw standardized fees, there is nothing in the regulation regarding fees. It is up to the individual producer if they want to absorb the cost of recycling, or pass it down to the customer. The issue is, because there is no set fee, and the costs for recycling vary by producer, the fees could be different across brands for the same category of products. For example, Samsung might charge $20 fee on tvs greater than 46", but LG might charge $15 and Sony could charge $0 for that same category if they decide to absorb the cost. This is cause for a lot of confusion for customers and for retailers. There will be many people confused as to why the fees vary for the same type of product and retailers now have to manage a huge assortment of fees by brands and categories, and explaining it to a customer at point of sale would be a huge headache. If a producer decides to absorb the cost of the recycling obligation, they *might* increase their MSRP to compensate. The regulations are very specific in saying that producers CANNOT charge more than the actual cost of recycling the product if showing a visible fee, but if a producer has internalized those costs, there is no way to know how much the actual cost of the recycling is vs. what they're adding on top for additional profit.

All this to say, that the new regulations, although good in that it puts the responsibility on the producers, could lead to an increase in price for the end consumer either through a confusing array of fees for similar items, or an increase in price through hidden cost increases which could yield even higher margins for producers.

I would suggest everyone in Ontario to reach out to their retailers and manufacturers to talk about this. Let them know you do not want to have the confusion of varying fees, and you do not want to pay more money when many producers have healthy margins to absorb these costs.

This is just an FYI and a high level overview of what could happen with these new regulations.

*The brands mentioned here are just an example and I really don't know what their obligations are or what and if any brand would be charging a fee.
Last edited by mightymo on Dec 24th, 2020 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
29 replies
Deal Guru
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Jan 9, 2011
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This should all be built into the price. The cost of following all other government regulations (labour standards, fire protection, health and safety, minimum wage increases, wheelchair ramp installation, import tariffs and brokerage, elevator inspections, everything) is built in. So why not this? The whole reason retailers and manufacturers listed recycling and eco fees separately on the receipt in the first place was to fool consumers into thinking it is some sort of government tax when it is not. And they fooled a lot of people.
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Apr 11, 2017
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Kiraly wrote: This should all be built into the price. The cost of following all other government regulations (labour standards, fire protection, health and safety, minimum wage increases, wheelchair ramp installation, import tariffs and brokerage, elevator inspections, everything) is built in. So why not this? The whole reason retailers and manufacturers listed recycling and eco fees separately on the receipt in the first place was to fool consumers into thinking it is some sort of government tax when it is not. And they fooled a lot of people.
I agree. The regulations really should have mandated that the fees NOT be visible so the producers wouldn't have a choice in it. IMO they didn't want to piss off the manufacturers and retailers too much and decided to just not have an opinion on it. It really is a shame, because I think the regulations have some good value, but the possible execution of it could be a nightmare for consumers.
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mightymo wrote: I agree. The regulations really should have mandated that the fees NOT be visible so the producers wouldn't have a choice in it. IMO they didn't want to piss off the manufacturers and retailers too much and decided to just not have an opinion on it. It really is a shame, because I think the regulations have some good value, but the possible execution of it could be a nightmare for consumers.
Is this because fee is different by province? And it's out of manufacture hand? Similar with tax
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smartie wrote: Is this because fee is different by province? And it's out of manufacture hand? Similar with tax
Every province has different regulations. MInimum wage, labour, etc. Environmental stewardship is just one more of these. So yes, the costs are different in every province, as is the cost of every other other regulation. Yet retailers manage somehow. So it’s a non issue.
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Kiraly wrote: Every province has different regulations. MInimum wage, labour, etc. Environmental stewardship is just one more of these. So yes, the costs are different in every province, as is the cost of every other other regulation. Yet retailers manage somehow. So it’s a non issue.
Well, the minimum salary is what employers pay to employees, so it's the cost of business

Eco fee is just retailers charge customers at front and pass it to the government or whichever, it's not their cost, it's more like tax and tax is separated from price

And it's a good thing to show them differently: if it's built in the price, then even fee is set to 0, manufacturers or retailers won't pass those savings to customers, but if it's listed as separate, then they no longer can charge it, customers actually save those charges

I am sure government doesn't want to show them
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Jun 30, 2006
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These fees are cash grabs. When you buy a $2000 Samsung, shouldn't they know how to recycle it and not charge a bogus $20 fee?
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carmaster wrote: These fees are cash grabs. When you buy a $2000 Samsung, shouldn't they know how to recycle it and not charge a bogus $20 fee?
My question is wouldn't they get money/profit by recycling electronics? Like sell those raw materials
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smartie wrote: Well, the minimum salary is what employers pay to employees, so it's the cost of business
The cost of following all government regulations is the cost of doing business. Everything is built into the price, except for this one particular cost, because retailers figured out that by listing it separately on the receipt, that they could fool people into thinking that was some sort of government tax when it is not. It's just part of what you pay, just not disclosed until the end. It's shady and shouldn't be allowed, just like a "minimum wage increase fee" or "building fire safety inspection fee" shouldn't be added on at the end.
Eco fee is just retailers charge customers at front and pass it to the government or whichever, it's not their cost, it's more like tax and tax is separated from price
It's not like tax at all. It's just part of the cost of the item. Listing it separately instead of building it in is the only reason people believe it's a tax or "is like a tax". Industry's attempt to pull the wool over our eyes succeeded mightily for them.
And it's a good thing to show them differently: if it's built in the price, then even fee is set to 0, manufacturers or retailers won't pass those savings to customers, but if it's listed as separate, then they no longer can charge it, customers actually save those charges
Er, what? Why would hiding the cost of following government regulations from the retail price and tacking them on at the till be a good thing? Recycling fee, elevator inspection fee, fire sprinkler fee, employee safety equipment fee, etc? Why would any one of these be a good idea, much less any or all of them?
I am sure government doesn't want to show them
Government has nothing to do with it. Retail and manufacturers want their prices to appear lower. They knew they couldn't get away with an elevator inspector fee tacked on to your TV purchase, but they figured that they could fool people with "eco fee" or "recycling fee" because it sounds like a government tax. That's the bet they made, and they were right.
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Kiraly wrote: The cost of following all government regulations is the cost of doing business. Everything is built into the price, except for this one particular cost, because retailers figured out that by listing it separately on the receipt, that they could fool people into thinking that was some sort of government tax when it is not. It's just part of what you pay, just not disclosed until the end. It's shady and shouldn't be allowed, just like a "minimum wage increase fee" or "building fire safety inspection fee" shouldn't be added on at the end.



It's not like tax at all. It's just part of the cost of the item. Listing it separately instead of building it in is the only reason people believe it's a tax or "is like a tax". Industry's attempt to pull the wool over our eyes succeeded mightily for them.


Er, what? Why would hiding the cost of following government regulations from the retail price and tacking them on at the till be a good thing? Recycling fee, elevator inspection fee, fire sprinkler fee, employee safety equipment fee, etc? Why would any one of these be a good idea, much less any or all of them?


Government has nothing to do with it. Retail and manufacturers want their prices to appear lower. They knew they couldn't get away with an elevator inspector fee tacked on to your TV purchase, but they figured that they could fool people with "eco fee" or "recycling fee" because it sounds like a government tax. That's the bet they made, and they were right.
This is not only one. In my utility bill, it has one line for delivery cost and one line for regulatory, why not built in the price then? Why tax is not built in the price?

It's a good thing: for example, if eco fee is 20 dollars and tv is 2000, if they built eco fee into price, then they sell 2020, even now eco fee is zero, they still sell 2020 because no one knows the cost structure for 2020. But if there is two lines, you know tv is 2000 and now since eco fee is zero, so you should only pay 2000, which one is better

You sure government has nothing to do with it? I thought government decided which electricity has eco fee.

Not mention eco fee is taxable and who get that tax?
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smartie wrote: This is not only one. In my utility bill, it has one line for delivery cost and one line for regulatory, why not built in the price then? Why tax is not built in the price?

It's a good thing: for example, if eco fee is 20 dollars and tv is 2000, if they built eco fee into price, then they sell 2020, even now eco fee is zero, they still sell 2020 because no one knows the cost structure for 2020. But if there is two lines, you know tv is 2000 and now since eco fee is zero, so you should only pay 2000, which one is better

You sure government has nothing to do with it? I thought government decided which electricity has eco fee.

Not mention eco fee is taxable and who get that tax?
eco fee is taxable because it's part of the price of the product. If it were built into the price then you'd be paying tax on it too, you just wouldn't notice. Retailers cannot get out of charging taxes by separating out the costs of all sorts of things and then listing them separately on the receipt. The taxes are still payable, no matter how the receipt is written up.
And no, the government has nothing to do with the collection or the amount of these eco fees. Government just passes legislation telling retailers and manufacturers to follow environmental regulations, just like they tell them to follow all other government regulations.
You're overthinking "then they sell 2020, even now eco fee is zero, they still sell 2020 because no one knows the cost structure for 2020." Every item has a cost. The cost is made up of all sorts of things. Following labour laws is one of them. Following environmental laws is another. Paying for the staff room refrigerator is another. Retailers and manufacturers got the brilliant idea of taking this one thing and hiding it from the consumer, only to tack it on at the end as an "eco fee." This allows them to present to the consumer a lower sticker price. Since consumers are used to seeing taxes tacked on at the end, then consumers are led to believe that these eco fees must be some sort of government taxes as well. Which they aren't. Tons of people have fallen for it.
[OP]
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Apr 11, 2017
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Kiraly wrote: ... Since consumers are used to seeing taxes tacked on at the end, then consumers are led to believe that these eco fees must be some sort of government taxes as well. Which they aren't. Tons of people have fallen for it.
Part of the issue here is that your average electronics dept staff (highschool, early college teen) isn't aware that it isn't a tax, so they just call it an "eco tax" or "another govt tax". Or that the customer complains about the govt charging another tax on their purchases and the sales person just agrees with them empathetically to get the sale. Why correct a customer if they don't have a choice in paying the fees? Sometimes staff don't know
better, sometimes they willfully ignore it. Either way the customer leaves uninformed. This falls squarely on the retailers to educate their staff properly imo.
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Jul 27, 2008
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I bought a TCL tv at Costco in store just after boxing day. Jan 5, I went on line to buy that same tv for my parents and there is now a $32 eco fee tacked on. I called Costco to inquire and they said, to their knowledge, they weren't aware of the eco fee being reinstated in Ontario. She said if I bought the tv and it was later discovered that I shouldn't have been charged, then I would get it credited back.
So, I did not purchase it, but rather went online to Bestbuy, added the exact same tv to my cart, and low and behold, no eco fee was applied. WTH?
So I tried at the source and visions, eco fee was there.
This thing is not rolling out consistently, and staff seem unaware.
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Those companies much hope consumers don't know it or don't notice it, so they can continue to get easy money
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Yeah, Costco has a $32 charge across the board on 50-55" TVs I looked at, which totally screws the value of said TVs and is causing me to buy elsewhere, like at Amazon or BB, who also offered the same model at the same sale price as Costco.

I talked to a Costco lady on the phone and she was from the west coast and had no clue that Ontario even got rid of it in the first place and had no idea if I could get reimbursed. What a clusterfluck and it makes me NOT want to buy a new TV going forward.

Why the heck did the PCs get rid of the eco fee in 2019, only to reinstitute a worse version of the same eco fee in 2021? Are they insane?
My last and final digital game I purchased at PSN from those Sony Devils was on November 22, 2020 - Ban that Sorny!
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smartie wrote: Those companies much hope consumers don't know it or don't notice it, so they can continue to get easy money
No, what they want to do is highlight and advertise a fraudulently low price to get people in the door, then when you get to the cash, BAM, on goes a $45 eco fee. On a $350 TV, that's another 13% eco fee on top of the 13% HST.

It's the same online, pricing engines won't know how to parse the eco fee scam, so they'll just show the "low sale price", when in reality, the cost could go up 10% or more when you get the "real" price.

To be honest, the return of the eco fee is just going to make me even more hesitant to buy electronics and make me second-guess any purchase that isn't absolutely required.
My last and final digital game I purchased at PSN from those Sony Devils was on November 22, 2020 - Ban that Sorny!
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carmaster wrote: These fees are cash grabs. When you buy a $2000 Samsung, shouldn't they know how to recycle it and not charge a bogus $20 fee?
This is the new way of getting money. The current Gov't doesn't want to increase tax so they introduce something new. This is exactly what the City of Toronto did with those new garbage fees...they couldn't increase property tax beyond X% so they created a new fee. Isn't it interesting that property tax did not go down for the value of the garbage fee which was now supposedly being collected separately.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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Kiraly wrote: And no, the government has nothing to do with the collection or the amount of these eco fees.
Of course they do, as they're the ones who created the legislation. :facepalm:

If Ford and his cronies wanted the eco-fee to be included in the retail price, it would be, simple as that. If they wanted to limit them to $X they could. But instead, the manufacturers greased some palms and the new rules allow the manufacturers to choose the eco-fee price level they want.

What a great idea, let the electronic corporations play "pick your own price" when it comes to jacking Ontario consumers with "hidden fees". That's sure to work out in our favor.

Once this gets out to the public, it's is going to create yet another shitstorm for fatboy Ford, as he used "I'll get rid of eco-fees" as a campaign platform. Instead, he just replaced it with something even worse and far more prone to corporate abuse.

And again, I am not against eco-fees per se, but I am against hiding them as a "mystery surcharge" that exists totally apart from the retail price.

This allows the old shenanigans of fake pricing in flyers and other promotions, then you go to the store and suddenly there is a $50 charge on the bill that wasn't present in the price. If Fatman's new scam plan had just included the fees in the price, then consumers would be able to compare prices easily, rather than needing a 200-page booklet outlining every manufacturer's individual eco-fee on every single item (which I don't believe even exists).

But then it wouldn't be a scam and no politician would get their palms greased by Sony, LG, TCL, Hisense, et al.
My last and final digital game I purchased at PSN from those Sony Devils was on November 22, 2020 - Ban that Sorny!
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Any more news on this?

Costco seems really sketchy as they have the exact same eco-free price for every similar item, just like in the past, and if every manufacturer in the world got together and agreed on $XX for a 65-inch TV, then that's collusion and illegal.
My last and final digital game I purchased at PSN from those Sony Devils was on November 22, 2020 - Ban that Sorny!
[OP]
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Apr 11, 2017
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JackWhyte wrote: Any more news on this?

Costco seems really sketchy as they have the exact same eco-free price for every similar item, just like in the past, and if every manufacturer in the world got together and agreed on $XX for a 65-inch TV, then that's collusion and illegal.
*ding ding ding*

But they won't call it collusion. Everyone's free to choose their fee schedule... unless of course you were told this is your only option (i.e. forced) to go with a fee schedule that these major retailers/major manufacturers decided to utilize. It makes it easy for the retailer, and the customer sees one price across the same category for those that opt in. What they don't tell you is that these fees, more often than not, are in excess of what it would cost for recycling. How else can they standardize a fee?

For example, it costs brand A $15, brand B $20, and brand C $8 to recycle the same product... retailer says "I can't handle all these different fees, so you will go with what I tell you, which is a standardized fee". Build in a buffer at the highest value to account for changes in sales volume, and now brands A, B, and C are all charging $25 to recycle the same product. Consumers are most probably paying more than they need to.

Does it make sense that an Insignia (Best Buy private brand) 50" tv has the same fee as the LG, Samsung, Sony 50" tvs? This regulation for Individual Producer Responsibility is anything but individual.

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