Georgia Dixon

Money & Banking

Is it fair to ask people to pay more for paper bills?

Is it fair to ask people to pay more for paper bills?

A campaign designed to protect consumers who have been unfairly targeted for requesting non-digital copies of their bills is quickly gaining momentum.

Keep Me Posted believes consumers should have the right to choose between digital and non-digital bills and not have to face any penalties for doing so. Some consumers have been slugged with charges up to $3.50 for requesting non-digital copies.

In an interview with 3AW’s Tom Elliot, Keep Me Posted Executive Director Kellie Northwood was quick to stress that the group was not against utilising technology in this way, but wanted to protect the rights of the consumer, “We're not anti-digital...if you prefer to receive it via the mail or paper-based then that should be freedom of choice.”

On its website, Keep Me Posted cites the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ Australian Family Trends paper, which state, “The rapid adoption of digital communications by banks, utility companies and the government has left many Australians at a social and financial disadvantage. 38 per cent of Australians feel that they are being left behind with modern technology, rising to 44 per cent who are concerned about the future.”

Keep Me Posted also notes, “Often the most vulnerable members of society are those most dependent on traditional mail. The move to an online-only society risks leaving the elderly, disabled, rural dwellers and those on low incomes disenfranchised.”

Recent problems with the Census website have highlighted the concerns raised by an overreliance on digital. Northwood says, “I think it is all very well for our Prime Minister to call for innovation, but innovation is not just about digital. Innovation is about doing things cleverly and in a well-considered manner, the idea this can only be achieved through online is kind of naïve.”

For more information about Keep Me Posted, click here.

Do you think it’s fair to have a surcharge for requesting paper bills? Or should we just bite the bullet and move to digital? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Related links:

What to do if you’re struggling to pay utility bills

20 small ways to reduce your monthly spend

10 more items you must never buy at the supermarket

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