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Consumer Groups to CRTC: Canadians Pay Telcos $600 Million in Paper Billing Fees Annually

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Last week the CRTC announced it was set to hold private closed door discussions with telcos over the issue of paper billing fees.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC) protested the move, and today published an open letter to CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais, asking him to reconsider the decision to close the former’s complaint about paper billing fees and rather hold private talks with the industry.

Below is a snippet of the letter, where both consumer groups raise concerns about the transparency of closed door meetings:

In addition, dismissing our formal complaint without any notice nor opportunity to defend its requests takes a powerful advocate away from the average Canadian, and in particular vulnerable Canadians. We have no confidence that the formal requests in our complaint will be raised by the Commission in the closed-door meeting nor that the arguments we made and would have made about the cost of this practice to consumers will be seriously addressed.

The PIAC also notes an upcoming report pegs Canadians pay $600 million annually (or roughly $17 per person) in paper billing fees to the telecommunications industry. They also cite how that number could go up if others decide to also implement fees:

PIAC has prepared an estimate of present communications industry-wide revenues for an upcoming report. However, we will give you the punchline: $600 million a year. That’s what we estimate Canadians presently pay the industry for paper bills. And if the “agreement” reached at this private meeting blesses the practice, those companies that presently do not charge may begin charging – so even if the amount per bill is lowered, this tab could actually go up.

Both the PIAC and CAC also bring up a separate point, where it believes communications companies ‘penalize’ consumers that don’t subscribe to internet services, when they only want wireline telephone or cable TV service.

The CRTC Chairman is being urged to hold public discussions regarding paper billing fees or explain how closed door meetings will be putting consumers first.

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  • Chad

    Here is the problem… when they say “$2 more for paper billing”, everyone knows the cost and can decide if they want to pay it or skip the paper billing. When the CRTC gets involved, they will tell them they cant charge a “paper billing” fee… know what happens… everyone gets charged more money normally to cover the cost of sending people a paper bill. Take a look at our cell rates now that we are on “2 year contract terms”.

  • shaqrad

    true dat roni!

  • FragilityG4

    They survived before without charging this fee. As I’ve said before on this topic, they only started to charge it when everyone went enviro crazy after Al Gore predicated the end of the world with a scissor lift. They saw an opportunity to make more money and jumped on it. No different than companies charging money for bags.

  • xxxJDxxx

    I find it bizarre how people have been brainwashed into this mentality that if a business has to incur a cost in doing said business it should be passed along to the consumer. How much profit did they make last year? It’s not that they can’t afford to send paper bills, they just dont want to because they want to make even more money. This is a ridiculous concept that no consumer should defend.

    “It’s like going to a restaurant and being charged extra because they have a candle on the table”

  • FamiGami

    Except al gore was right which makes you wrong.

  • FragilityG4

    Hahaha yeah humans change the weather not the sun.

  • FamiGami

    If that’s what you think climate change is, you’ve got learning to do. Also, the sun doesn’t change weather. Again, educate yourself.

  • FragilityG4

    AGW is a a theory and a joke don’t kid yourself. Al Gore is very rich because of gullible people — Earth is over four and half billion years old … If you believe we can alter its weather, let alone existence, you are gullible.

  • FamiGami

    Again, educate yourself. We don’t alter the weather. We alter the ENVIRONMENT which in turn alters the weather through climate change. This is TRUE. You can’t deny deforestation in the Amazon doesn’t lead to the creation of deserts. which BTW, causes exponential heat gain and dryness and therefore alters the weather, keeping the rains away and as such exponentially makes it worse and worse. The only gullible person here is the one who can’t understand the difference between weather and environment nor the consequences of cause and effect.

  • FragilityG4

    What caused the ice ages? What caused the Medieval warming period? Deforestation? If you can’t explain the past how can you predict the future?

  • FamiGami

    WOW, just wow. Climate change is the answer to your ignorance. No one ever claimed climate change didn’t exist in the past. Educate yourself! You are only furthering the proof that you know nothing about what you’re arguing against.

  • Al

    “…if a business has to incur a cost in doing said business it should be passed along to the consumer.”
    Holly f’n crap, man! That’s business 101 numb nuts!

    And you think that because a business is highly profitable it should owe you money? Have you ever heard of “investors”? Are you that stupid not to understand how these things work?

    Dumb… Just insanely f’n dumb.

  • FedupwithCRTC

    How much does the useless and ineffective CRTC cost Canadians?

  • MichaelYYZ

    The cost of producing and mailing a paper bill has always been included in the cost of the service. Then comes the digital age and companies decide to switch to paperless billing. By doing this, they save the cost associated with the paper version, so they should pass the savings to their customers. Instead, and outrageously, companies have seen this as an opportunity for another cash grab. They should have offered a discount for going paperless, rather than suddenly charging for paper billing. Only in Canada!!!

  • FragilityG4

    Stop for a moment, clear your head and think. I’ve never disputed that climate changed does or did not exist; the sun has been around this whole time. I’ve disputed that AGW does not exist and the theory breeds on the gullible.

  • FamiGami

    You’re wrong, not a single report says otherwise. PROVE IT. I’ve already given you evidence. Again, the sun isn’t the issue here. YOU are the gullible one here. Get. An. Education.

  • FamiGami

    Actually, this is not only in Canada. It’s everywhere.

  • FamiGami

    It isn’t useless. It’s the only reason Netflix can exist at all and the only reason rates aren’t even higher. Not to mention the only reason UBB never came to exist for third parties.

  • FamiGami

    Quit drinking the coolaid. There is no cost of business in paperless billing. It’s cheaper, that’s why they are pushing people to go paperless. The cost of paper billing is already in the cost of the service. There is no extra cost to paper billing – it’s already being paid for by EVERYONE, even those that are paperless. The extra charge is pure greed. When you ca provide evidence that cell rates dropped after introducing the paperless model, I’ll believe you.

  • FragilityG4

    What’s your “evidence”? Have you paid attention to the amount of solar flares the sun has produced in the last thirty years? Do you know if the sun has more sunspots today than decade ago? Do have any understanding of solar activity and how it affects weather? The sun is weather. There is your evidence. If it’s only mankind who increases the temperature how come other planets such as Mars show the same rate of increase? Educate yourself my friend — don’t fall under the cloak of Big Green — don’t get me wrong, I do whatever I can to be environmentally responsible, because it is the right thing to do. For our air, our water and our children. But I don’t believe in mortgaging mine and my kids future all in the name of Climate Change when there’s pretty much nothing we can do. The Sun my friend, it does it all — Goodness, Gracious Great Ball of Fire.

  • FamiGami

    Solar flares do not contribute to temperature increases nor to climate change. They are momentary events caused by increased photon expulsion from the sun. The only effects they have are on the ozone layer and electronics and radiation, not heat. Mars doesn’t have an atmosphere like earth. It does not show the same temperature increases as earth. It cannot retain heat (greenhouse effect) like earth. You are a moron if you believe that both planets are similar. You continue to argue weather when weather is NOT climate change. I’ve said this multiple times now. Until you get an education, you are only making yourself sound ever more ignorant to fact, climate change, and reality itself. This is beyond the absolute ignorance you’re demonstrating by refusing to discuss climate change, instead you are trying to prove that weather changes. No one disputes that.

  • FragilityG4

    And I still don’t see the AGW … You have proven nothing. Remember when Gore said rising carbon increases temperature? Also remember how many scientist came out afterwards saying it’s actually the opposite. It was far hotter in the Middle Ages than today and afterwards there was a mini ice age … In the seventies it was Global Cooling and in the nineties the ozone was going to disappear … Weather, climate whatever you want to call it is a fickle thing that we have no control over.

  • FamiGami

    That’s it, keeping proving your ignorance.

  • FragilityG4

    Disbelief is not ignorance my friend. Smile ???? it’s not the end of the world ????

  • FamiGami

    Ignorance is the willful disbelief of fact. By definition. You’re right, they aren’t the same thing but you are guilty of both.

  • FragilityG4

    Hahaha you’ve presented a theory, by definition there’s no facts. Man you’re getting so angry! That’s what I’ve never understood about AGW believers — you take it so personally. Geez just forget it, smile and enjoy life!! After all according to your theory there won’t be much left to enjoy!! Smile my friend, smile … It’s the best medicine.

  • FamiGami

    Again with your conspiracy theories! No one ever said it would be the end of the world. No one. Ever.

  • FragilityG4

    That my friend, is called sarcasm.

  • Al

    Do you not see the increase in postage? Do you think employees work for the same wave forever? Do you not think the equipment that needs to print the bills doesn’t need to be maintained and updated over top? All this equals increased costs. Use your brain.

  • FamiGami

    Use YOUR brain. Do monthly rates not increase to account for those increases? Do consumers not get less for their payment? All the costs you mentioned are ALREADY included in the monthly billing cost of the plan, not the surcharge for paper billing – as I said originally. Oh, and record profits don’t equate to raising consumer’s fees. Economy 101.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Right, but those costs should be included in the price they advertise and the consumer pays. There shouldn’t be added fee’s tacked on after the fact, especially for something as essential as an invoice.
    I never said a business ‘owed me money’ just that making up extra charges for something that I wasn’t charged for yesterday when you are already making enormous profits is not necessary, its just greedy. I would reiterate my earlier point, it amazes me how people have been brainwashed into thinking that they owe a highly profitable business MORE money for something as simple as an invoice.
    Should they be able to breakdown every cost they incur in doing business and tack that onto our bills as added fees? Those rogers trucks need gas and insurance, why not tack on a ‘network maintenance fee’? Takes electricity to run all those cell towers and thats always going up, why not tack on a utility fee? Retail location operating fee? Customer service staffing fee? Record keeping fee? Where does it end? Point is ALL of these things are costs a business incurs in doing said business and should be included in the (already high) fee’s we already pay them, not passed along to the consumer as an added fee. Including being sent a damned bill. Get it?

    PS- your use of name calling and hyperbole is not necessary. Lets keep the discussion civilized and on topic, ok?

  • xxxJDxxx

    Anytime someone brings up the ‘global cooling’ scare of the seventies I take that as a sign they haven’t done there homework.

  • Al

    “Do monthly rates not increase to account for those increases?”
    No. Show me where. And don’t generalize just to suit your theory.

    “Do consumers not get less for their payment?”
    No. That’s kind of a stupid statement.

    “All the costs you mentioned are ALREADY included in the monthly billing cost of the plan, not the surcharge for paper billing – as I said originally.”
    Read what I wrote instead of being purely argumentative.

    Oh, and record profits don’t equate to raising consumer’s fees.
    Irrelevant and invalid (other than Telus). Is that just a statement you hoped would be true?

  • Al

    “Right, but those costs should be included in the price they advertise…”
    This was discussed before in the recent related topic. Essentially, if this happened, you would end up paying more because they would have to build in the cost into EVERY service they provide. This way (as a separate fee) it’s just a one-time shot – which is beneficial to those who get multiple services from a company.

    “I never said a business ‘owed me money’…”

    Yes… you did. In the sense that you feel a profitable company should be made to “give back”. This isn’t a communist country. If you were a share holder and the company you have stock in decided on it’s own to stop recouping certain costs, you would take action to have the people in charge removed.

    “Should they be able to breakdown every cost they incur in doing business and tack that onto our bills as added fees?”
    Of course!!! Holy crap, man. Business 101.

    “Those rogers trucks need gas and insurance, why not tack on a ‘network maintenance fee’? … (and all your other stupid examples)…”
    Now you’re just being argumentative (or incredibly stupid). Apples and oranges, man! Is there an alternative to the consumer for all those ridiculous examples you gave, like there is for billing?

    Sorry, but it’s hard to stay civilized when I’m dealing with idiots who are spewing crap because they don’t have the balls to admit they are wrong.

  • FragilityG4

    Oh no! Another AGW believer! It’s hearing up here!! Hahaha

  • xxxJDxxx

    At no point did I say that a company had to ‘give back’. Its not about giving back anything its about not ADDING extra fee’s. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree as to me there is nothing more ‘stupid’ about any of the other fee’s I listed than there is about charging a fee for your bill.
    Unfortunate that you still can’t refrain from petty name calling. Indicative of the intelligence level I am debating with I suppose…

  • Al

    By saying they shouldn’t charge for cost increases, you are saying they have to give back. Same thing. Your way just makes you feel better about yourself because it gives you feel you are in the right and gives you something to complain about.
    – You don’t want to pay for cost increases.
    – You want the company to take care of that for you (by absorbing it themselves).
    – In other words, you want them to give back to you.
    … Get it now?

  • xxxJDxxx

    Nope. Giving back and not hiking rates are not the same thing. Period.

  • Al

    Spin it however it makes you feel better… You’re still asking to not have to cover cost increases. You want them to give you something that now costs more, without making you pay to cover that cost. You want THEM to pay for it without making YOU pay for it. SAME THING!!!!

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