Australian consumer advocacy group, Choice has panned The Commonwealth Bank after reports it will slug customers with a fee to provide printed copies of their account statement. With ten million customers the loss of printed statements will be a major dent in the industry, and presumably the other major banks will follow suit. Commonwealth Bank customers automatically receive printed statements twice a year, with an option to receive them more regularly. However if customers choose to receive their statements more frequently, this will now attract a fee of $2.50 per statement.
Paper fee uproar: CBA will charge customers $2.50 for statements
But CBA is not the first to do this, other companies such as Telstra, Optus, and Origin Energy have already started charging customers a similar fee for paper statements. Choice campaign manager Erin Turner says companies planning to introduce a paper charge need to think about their customers before they do so. She says, “Commonwealth Bank serves a large group of customers with a diverse range of needs, it has also been posting record profits for a number of years in the context of financial advice scandals, like CommInsure taking advantage of clients. This looks like another example of CBA putting its profits first and customers last.” Turner says that companies are legally allowed to charge paper fees, but adds, “The question is should they do so? Are they looking after their customers by doing so?” Commonwealth Bank has released a statement addressing the uproar. It reads, “The fact is that all our customers currently receive at least two paper statements per year free of charge. The proposed change is to charge $2.50 per paper statement but only if a customer requests to receive more frequent statements. “We have explicitly made clear that pensioner accounts are exempt from changes and we have also exempted youth accounts and customers with special needs. Any customers with special circumstances and needs can also speak to our staff who can waive the charge.”
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