The CRTC has announced its meeting with nearly a dozen telecoms today over the issue of paper bill fees has concluded, with these companies agreeing to provide the following paper bill fee exemptions:
- customers who have no personal or home broadband connection
- persons with disabilities who need a paper bill
- seniors aged 65 and over
- veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces
- Companies that choose to charge for paper bills have committed that the exemptions will take effect by January 1, 2015.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) previously estimated Canadian consumers with internet access have spent $77 to $102 million on paper billing fees every year.
Tom Pentefountas, Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting, and Peter Menzies, Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications, said in a statement:
“We would like to thank the companies that participated at the meeting on paper bills. The discussion was frank and wide-ranging, and we appreciate that the participants were able to find common ground with respect to exemptions for some Canadians, including seniors, veterans, persons with disabilities and those without Internet access.
We are very disappointed, however, that they were unable to reach a broader consensus that would have taken into account the concerns of all Canadians. We have recommended to our colleagues that the CRTC seek the views of Canadians to verify whether this approach would enable them to make informed choices regarding how they are billed for their communication services.
We note that the companies that charge paper bill fees have stated that, in the coming days, they will be evaluating further measures.”
Yesterday, the PIAC released a report which estimated Canadians are paying between $495 million and $734 million annually in fees for monthly bills related to paper billing (banking and communications service industries).
The CRTC thanked the telecoms for meeting with them, but on the whole they reported they were “very disappointed” a broader consensus was unable to be reached. So those who needed the exemptions received them, but for the rest of us who don’t qualify, you still need to pay for paper bills if you need them.