CRTC challenging telcos over additional fees for paper billing

The CRTC has announced a pro-consumer initiative that’s takes aim at both telecom and broadcast companies and how they sometimes charge customers an additional fee for receiving a paper bill.

The CRTC today declared today that it will start meeting with various Canadian organizations to discuss the practice of charging customers an additional fee if they opt in to receive paper billing versus an electronic bill. The CRTC notes that “there is a wide variation in how companies approach paper bill fees.” Most Canadian wireless carriers note on their site that “If you choose to receive a paper invoice, a $2 fee (per invoice) will apply.” However, some carriers have opted to discount the fee based on the number of additional services you bundle in.

As of November 2013, 36 companies stated they don’t charge fees for a paper bill, while 27 revealed they do. “There is no consistent practice across the industry,” said the CRTC, and its approach is not taken into account the specific circumstances of some Canadians.” The Canadian regulatory body said they are challenging the “communications industry to come up with a clear and predictable approach” to address this consumer issue. The paper bill fee reportedly ranges between $0.99 to $5.95 per month for paper bills.

Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman, said, “We are concerned that not all Canadians have a reasonable choice when it comes to paper bill fees for communications services. We are challenging telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to come up with a comprehensive approach that will enable Canadians to make informed decisions. We are prepared to explore regulatory options if the industry fails to find an appropriate approach.”