Submitted: The Two Sides Team June 20, 2018
The company’s recent move to digital-only has caused a backlash by consumer groups who want to retain print on paper.
Koodo, a Canadian telecom provider owned by Telus, is stopping paper statements and forcing its customers to go digital. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) responded by filing a complaint with Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the CRTC, to voice their concern about the issue and to hopefully prevent other providers from doing the same.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the advocacy groups argue that, even in the digital era, many Canadians (including seniors, less computer-savvy people, low income families, those without computers or Internet, people with learning disabilities), often require or prefer paper bills. “It’s their right,” said Trish McAuliffe, interim president of NPF, which represents one million seniors and retirees across Canada.
In their complaint, PIAC and NPF argue that the right to receive paper bills, at no charge, is at the heart of federal legislation passed in 2014. Many Canadian telecoms charged customers a fee for paper bills until the law was passed mandating that no charge was allowed. Koodo argues the law does not mean telecoms are obliged to offer paper billing; just that they cannot charge for it.
The preference of consumers for print on paper and retaining choice between paper or digital billing has been well documented by Toluna and Two Sides in a 2017 survey that showed the following:
The Koodo initiative is likely seen by many as a cost-saving measure, and a way to pass printing costs to consumers. Perhaps another way to keep shareholders happy. Telus revenues in 2017 were $13.3 billion, a 3% growth over 2016. Profits (EBITDA) were $4.9 billion, a 4.4% increase over 2016.
The National Consumer Law Center of the U.S. writes “For many consumers, from those without regular broadband internet access to the most computer savvy, paper is a more reliable way of ensuring that the consumer actually sees the information and can retain important records. Paper statements must be available for free for consumers who want them, and consumers should not be coerced into electronic statements or steered into them by default if paper is the consumer’s first choice.”
For more on this topic see our Fact Sheet: Paper or Digital? Consumer Choice is Being Removed by Corporations
TO CANADIAN CITIZENS WHO WANT TO HELP SUPPORT CONSUMER CHOICE AND PAPER STATEMENTS:
Comments are due by July 6, 2018 to support the complaint filed by PIAC and NPF. Please follow the instructions below.
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