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Fees keep consumers guessing

Home Hardware and Lowe’s are charging them. Home Depot and Canadian Tire are not. Walmart and Loblaw won’t say. RONA buries them in the price of goods such as paint and batteries.

Home Hardware and Lowe’s are charging them. Home Depot and Canadian Tire are not. Walmart and Loblaw won’t say. RONA buries them in the price of goods such as paint and batteries.

Welcome to what one critic calls the new “wild west” of eco fees which range from pennies to several dollars depending on the product.

It’s tough for consumers to keep track of where they stand amid a mishmash of policies from one retailer to another — if the chains will even reveal what they’re doing.

More than a month after the Ontario government formally killed a new round of eco fees that began July 1 on thousands of potentially toxic household items such as cleaners and fire extinguishers, the retail community is split on what to do about the first round of eco fees that came into effect on nine types of products in July 2008 — and remain legal.

Other products for which retailers can still charge eco fees are contact cement, oil filters, oil containers of 30 litres or less, single-use dry-cell batteries, automotive antifreeze, pressurized containers such as propane tanks, fertilizers and pesticides.

Aside from $4.03 on a big plastic pail of paint — the size contractors typically buy — some sample fees are 13 cents on an 8-pack of AA batteries, 18 cents on a nine-kilogram bag of fertilizer, and 81 cents on a 3.78-litre can of house paint.

 
 
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