Customers unimpressed after Telus forces transition to paperless bills
Telus staff had no idea what seniors without internet access should do to check bills, says one upset customer
For the past two years, Vicki Warner has received her Telus bill in the mail. She liked it that way and still does.
But she won't be getting paper bills anymore as of Nov. 1, when Telus goes paperless.
Warner, 75, says she didn't get a say in the matter.
"I was surprised to see they were able to do that summarily," said Warner, who lives in Sechelt, B.C., with her husband.
"I wasn't thrilled about it."
Warner and other customers are less than impressed with the forced change, saying e-billing isn't always convenient or fair — especially to seniors and anyone who doesn't understand or can't access the internet.
'I like to see it in black and white'
Telus sent an email to customers to announce the change on Sept. 14. Bills will be available on the company's website or through its app.
Cheryl Keyes, 72, had a similar reaction to Warner when she saw the notice.
"I just don't think that's right. I mean, a lot of companies want to go to paperless billing but they give the customer a choice," she added.
Speaking up for others
Warner runs her own blog, website and social media pages — "I'm actually pretty handy with a computer" — so she felt obligated to speak up on behalf of others who might not be so tech savvy.
"For me, it's an inconvenience … but my concern is mainly for the seniors that I know," she said.
"I can count at least 15 of them who don't have computers at all and have no computer knowledge and I'm wondering, 'what will they do?'"
Warner went to her local Telus store and asked — "very nicely," she said — what the company expected those people to do without mailed bills.
"They couldn't answer that," Warner said.
"One [staff member] suggested to the other that they phone Telus in Ontario. Which they did … Then apparently they didn't really know in Ontario, either."
'Some customers may require a paper bill'
In a statement, Telus said: "We understand some of our customers will still require the option of a paper bill and we are happy to work with them to meet their needs." The company goes on to say it "does not charge for paper bills, accessible formats included. If a customer does require a paper bill, they would receive it at no cost."
The CRTC, Canada's telecom regulator, says service providers are allowed to change contract terms and conditions as long as they give customers 30 days notice.
Koodo Mobile, which is owned by Telus, eliminated paper bills in May.
That sparked a formal CRTC complaint from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the National Pensioners Federation.
The groups argued the right to receive paper bills — at no charge — is at the heart of federal legislation passed in 2014.
The CRTC complaint has yet to go to hearings. Keyes said she plans to file her own complaint.
- This story has been updated to include comments from Telus to clarify that there is no charge for paper bills.Nov 08, 2018 10:24 AM PT