How can BT charge £ 3 for a paper bill when they cost just 45p to send?

How can BT charge £ 3 for a paper bill when they cost just 45p to send?

Millions of people are struggling to stay on top of their financial information.

Paperwork billing – they are either getting out of the way in a paper and billing process.

BT recently raised the cost of its paper bills for broadband customers by a fifth – now £ 3 each. Next year, Nationwide Building Society wants to stop posting annual savings statements to customers, encouraging them to check their accounts via online banking instead.

Waging was: BT recently raised the cost of its paper bills for broadband customers by a fifth

Waging was: BT recently raised the cost of its paper bills for broadband customers by a fifth

Waging was: BT recently raised the cost of its paper bills for broadband customers by a fifth

Cost is cited as the main reason for cutting back on paperwork, and printing a business costs no more than 45p. No big company that charges for paper billing does so for less than £ 1.

Campaigners say the casualties of the relentless march towards digital-only services are vulnerable consumers. These people need financial information to hand rather than on-screen so they can make better decisions and avoid missing payments.

Judith Donovan is the chair of the Keep Me. She says: "It is as if people are vulnerable, or are they not having enough money to be considered important by business – leaving big brands to call the shots. This is plainly wrong.'Among those affected are the visually impaired, mental health sufferers, people who can not afford a computer or broadband – or do not want them – and those with no or poor internet access.

More than five million households have no internet access. Many more have the ability to transact online but do not want to because they are worried about fraud and like paper bills.

Donovan adds: 'The fundamental concern of our campaign is about the right of all consumers to choose how to trade with suppliers – it is not about being pro or anti-digital.'

Now no documents means no proof of ID

Even when people accept the new world of paperless billing, problems arise when it comes to applying for a mortgage or a rental property. Lenders and landlords want original copies of bills for ID.

Dan Wilson Craw, director of campaign group Generation Rent, says: 'Renters move frequently – every two to three years. This entails bureaucracy that often requires proof of address, for example in registering with a new GP or library. Families and solicitors are also struggling with the rise of digital legacies. For example, families helping a relative with dementia could search for bills in a drawer. Now, vital information can be locked away in a computer.

Angálid Lynn, Senior Associate at Law Veale Wasbrough Vizards, says: 'It is common for bank statements to be online, shares to be uncertificated and to be individual. The difficulty arises when someone loses this capacity. "

BROADBAND STATEMENTS ARE BIGGEST RIP-OFF

Telecom providers are among the worst culprits for paper bill fees.

Charges are routinely higher than experts estimate the cost of printing and posting a bill.

BT's broadband customer is the strongest at £ 3. Sky customers pay £ 1.75 a statement while TalkTalk charges £ 2. Most high street banks encourage paperless billing, though industry rules.

Energy suppliers are thus guilty of favorite consumers who comply with paperless billing.

The cheapest tariffs are often reserved for those happy to sacrifice paper bills, effectively penalizing households not content to go along.

Customers searching for cheaper energy tariffs can use a mobile phone tool from Citizens.

Visit energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Lynn says it is common for solicitors to give corrected account information to Revenue & Customs in relation to inheritance tax because assets come to light several months after a person's death. She adds: 'Another difficulty can be related to ID. We are required to take copies of people's passports, driving licenses and a utility bill from the last three months. Many people simply do not have a utility bill any more. '

Nicola Waldman, Hodge Jones & Allen, specialises in wills and probate. She says: 'Unless attorneys or executors have access to computer records, important bills can be missed.'

A mobile phone which is no longer in use can therefore no longer be used for a person who is caring for a relative.

But if a bill lands on the doormat, a carer knows it needs to be dealt with. Waldman adds: 'There is a great deal of abuse and fraud when assets are managed online – and where a third party has access to those accounts.

To share your experiences with the Keep Me Posted in, PO Box 72064, London EC4P 4DZ.

If you have a paperless bills, email laura.shannon@mailonsunday.co.uk or write to: Personal Finance, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS.

Leave a comment

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.