“UPC’s decision to axe its payments system through the post office network nation-wide is causing distress for some of its rural customers and the company needs to show some leeway in the transition period”, according to Fine Gael Carlow Kilkenny TD, John Paul Phelan.
“Customers of the broadband and television company will not be able to pay their bills at their local post office from 23rd June, a move which will also impact on the rural post office network.
“All UPC customers have received a letter from the company advising them of the change and giving their alternative payment options. But several of these options are just not suitable for some living in remote areas who now fear they will fall foul to steep late payment charges.
“I’ve had a number of constituents contact me, wondering why this payment arrangement with their local post office has been changed. It was very handy for those collecting their pension or welfare payments to settle their UPC balance at the same time.
“UPC has told my office that these people can now pay via direct debit, at a Payzone or Paypoint location, by credit and debit card or using a bank ATM. But there are several rural areas in particular where there just aren’t other options or where customers don’t have a means of transport to these locations.
“I’m appealing to UPC to show some leeway in cases where there are customers who have problems in the transition period. They have indicated that they will show such grace. And if customers have problems or have queries, I would urge them to contact UPC now on their Freephone 1908 number and work out a payment option that is best for them.
“This changeover is causing concern for some. I have been reassured by UPC that there will not be a surcharge for paying at Payzone outlets and that there are no plans to introduce a fee for settling bills in this way.
“This is also another service which has been taken out of our already under pressure rural post office network and I will be contacting An Post to get to the root of this issue.
“My office will continue to liaise with UPC on this matter and I hope this is not the start of a wave of payments being switched from our customer-friendly post offices which are a critical community service right across rural Ireland.”