BLOG: The perils of going paperless
An interesting new campaign has been launched this week to protect consumer choice over how organisations send their bills and statements.
In an increasingly digital world, it’s hardly surprising that more and more energy firms, telecoms companies and banks are pushing customers towards entirely paperless bills and statements, with many offering discounts as an incentive. Some firms even charge people a fee to receive bills by post. And currently, there is little legislation or regulation to stop companies making consumers go digital only.
However, the ‘Keep Me Posted’ campaign says there is still a large proportion of the population who wants the choice to receive their bills and statements by post.
According to independent research, 81% of people feel they have better chance of reading statements if they are available by post and online and 4 in 10 said the removal of paper statements entirely could seriously affect their finances, such as missing a bill payment.
The campaign is backed by a number of partners including Mind, the National Consumer Federation and the Post Office who believe every consumer should be able to choose, without being penalised, a paper copy of communications from banks, utility companies and service providers.
This will be an important campaign for the 7.1 million UK adults who, according to the Office for National Statistics, have never used the internet. And for the 16 million people aged 15 and over who still do not have basic internet skills.
It will also be crucial for the millions of UK households who don’t have a computer at home.
Technology has done a lot to increase competition and lower prices in financial services but at a time when so many people are struggling with financial worries, companies should be doing as much as possible to help (and keep) their customers by increasing not minimising choice.
Joanna Faith is editor of Your Money
What do you think? How do you prefer to receive your bills and statements? Online, by post or both?