Fine Gael TD for Mayo and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, John O’Mahony, has come out in support of the campaigns by the Active Retirement Association of Ireland and the Irish Post Masters Union who are protesting against what they have described as ‘aggressive’ paperless billing policies by certain companies.
“It is clearly in the interests of companies to go down the road of paperless billing but the reality is that there is a large section of the population that it simply will not suit. I am happy to see the introduction of electronic billing but some companies have been too aggressive in the phasing out of paper bills. The simple reality is that electronic bills do not suit everyone. Many older people do not use email and they need to be adequately catered to.
“Customers are being asked to notify companies if they wish to receive paper bills. However many consumers are not noticing these requests and this is leading to difficulties. Some customers of Vodafone and Meteor are getting their mobile phones cut off because they did not communicate to their suppliers that they wanted to continue to receive paper bills.
“Companies need to improve their communications on how customers can continue to receive paper bills. I am concerned that companies are not currently providing customers with adequate communication in order to continue to receive paper bills.
“People have been brought up with paper bills and for them to suddenly have to change is very unfair. The imposition of electronic bills will create extra costs for some people, including printing costs.
“Customers have a right to be presented with a paper bill and these companies need to be made aware of their obligations in this regard. I totally support both the ARA and the Irish Post Masters Union and I will be calling on the Consumers Association of Ireland to throw their weight behind the campaign and ensure that the two companies continue to provide their customers with a paper bill.
“I understand that companies may wish to pursue a paperless billing policy but they must be made to understand that it’s not a one size fits all policy. They must continue to cater for those who prefer to see a hard copy of their bill and to provide adequate communications to their customers to enable them to continue to receive paper bills.”