Northwood backs Treasurer over billing

Consumer advocacy campaign Keep Me Posted has responded to comments made by Treasurer Scott Morrison on the need for big businesses to improve their reputations with the Australian public.

Morrison, speaking at the AFR Banking and Wealth Summit in Sydney, said he has “raised consistently with large business representative the need to address the broader collective reputation issues large businesses have with the Australian public.”

Keep Me Posted argues that fees big businesses are imposing for paper bills and statements they mail to their customers is indicative of big businesses being out of touch with their customers and the wider Australian community.

Kellie Northwood, executive director, Keep Me Posted, says “What was once a cost of running business has become a revenue line for many services providers and banks. Internal research shows that the fees being charged on paper bills and statements are higher than the cost of print and postage they are supposed to cover.

“This could mean that businesses are making a profit at the expense of their most vulnerable customers, those who cannot switch to digital communications, for lack of skills, accessibility or affordability.”

It also outlines that the most digitally excluded communities in Australia are people aged over 65, people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians, and low-paid, unemployed Australians.

The group says that fees for paper bills and statements can add up to hundreds of dollars per household, while customers who switch to digital communications without being prepared for it find themselves exposed to scams.

Keep Me Posted says it is seeking legislative consumer protection against unfair paper billing fees and calling on all Australians to write to their Federal Member of Parliament to let them know how the fees affect them.

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