How Much Do You Want to Pay Big Corporations to Send You Paper Bills?
Canadians are paying over $500 million annually to receive paper bills they received free prior to 2010, according to a study by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). The burden of the pay-to-pay rule implemented by telecom, internet and other firms falls heavily on low-income people and seniors who are less likely to have access to the internet.
In a survey of Canadian attitudes towards online billing commissioned by the PIAC, about 33 percent of respondents were not comfortable getting a bill online and an additional 5 percent had no access to the internet. A majority of consumers indicated their disapproval of companies charging people extra fees to get their bills on paper. They believe supplying a paper bill in the mail without having to pay an extra fee is part of the company’s cost of doing business.
Why not give up on paper bills? Well for one, paper statements give us a record of financial information that we can keep as long as we want. Anyone who has ever had to have a mistake corrected in an invoice or has ever been audited knows the value of a hard copy.
Paper bills are also constant reminders that we need to make a payment by a certain date. Electronic bills arrive in our in boxes and within hours or days, disappear off the page: out of sight; out of mind. Research backs this up. According to a case study by a Danish company Natur-Energi dedicated to delivering simple and effective energy solutions, customers paid the required amount on their bills significantly later if they received their invoices by e-mail, compared to physical mail. The survey found that 59 percent of customers receiving the e-mail invoice had to be sent a reminder, while only 29 percent receiving the mailed invoice required a follow-up message
Phil has over 28 years of international experience related to sustainability and the forest products industry. He currently leads Two Sides North America, a non-profit that promotes the unique sustainable features of print and paper, as well as their responsible production and use. Two Sides operates globally in five continents with members that span the entire graphic communication value chain. Phil has written extensively on sustainability and environmental topics related to the forest products sector. He received his Bachelor and Master's of Science degrees from McGill University in Montreal. He is a private forest owner and sustainably manages over 200 acres of forestland for both recreational and economic benefits.