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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Fighting new e-billing charges-Telus Mobility

Does anyone have any experience in fighting Telus Mobility (or any corporation) in their move to paper billing? Recently, Telus Mobility began charging $2 a month for customers who refused to sign up for e-billing and support the tax write off charity scam (you know, sign up for e-billing and we'll "donate" $1 to x charity). I have escalated my challenge of this extra fee to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, but doubt this will work.

I am challenging Telus' billing based on the following:
1) I am a long-term customer (acquired when Telus took over Clearnet)
2) I have a three year contract with Telus (fortunately, ending January 2011), which stipulates what they can charge. (Going through the fine print, there is no mention of fee to receive a bill.)
3) While my contract stipulate that Telus can elect to deliver my bill electronically, it again does not stipulate that it can charge if I refuse this service.

Surely, I can't be the only one affected by this? For the record, I'm tee'd off by the principle of Telus violating the terms of our signed contract, rather than phony environmentalism assoicated with e-billing.

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Update: May 20, 2011
In case anyone was wondering, here's what happened with my dispute with Telus Mobility over their illegal billing practices.

1) I submitted a complaint with the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Service. In my complaint, I explicitly stated that I wished all communication with Telus Mobility in writing.

2) I received two voice messages from the President's Office (yeah, right) from Telus mobility, one on Christmas Eve and one on New Years eve. I did not respond to either message.

3) CCTS wrote in January asking if my claimed had been resolved. As I had not received written communication from Telus Mobility acknowledging my complaint, I said it was not. I was then assigned a case worker for my case.

4) The case worker took my case to Telus, who offered a $20 credit (equal to 10 months of billing service). However, the case worker said that she could not investigate me claim that Telus was violating the terms of my contract by charging me an extra fee, because the CCTS CANNOT INVESTGIATE CELL PHONE COMPANY BILLING PRACTICES.

5) I requested that in order to close my file, that Telus Mobility write me indicating why they were providing me a $20 credit. I never received such a letter, just a credit on my bill. The CCTS subsequently closed my complaint.

6) I've closed my Telus Mobility account, and currently do not have a cell phone. I have also written my local MP (Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, and the former Industry Minister expressing my dissatisfaction with the current voluntary corporate regulatory body (the CCTS), which has no power re: billing to hold the cell companies accountable for illegal billing practice. Sometimes you need big government to come in hold these companies accountable!

7) I strongly urge anyone else who was illegally billed by Telus for their contract-breaking charge for their unilateral switch to paperless billing to follow up with the CCTS and the Industry Minister.
 

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I sympathize with your concern. I have resisted ebilling too because I had to keep hard copy records for tax reasons. But because I have renwewed most contracts in recent times, I have gradually been forced into ebilling.

So I have accepted it as inevitable. I know it is cheaper for me to print a pdf than for Telus to print, sort, and mail my bill. I suppose those extra savings will eventually show up in corporate profits.

What has been the experience of others?
 

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i agree with kcowan. ebill and print, then buy shares to benefit from the profits...

what i really hate is them changing HOW you can pay the bill. sometimes credit cards not accepted with autobilling, sometimes they are.
 

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No sympathy from me here, I'm afraid. I am a fan of e-billing and support the policy of making people pay to get paper statements. E-billing is cheaper and uses fewer resources; it should be the standard for the future. If you want to be the exception and receive paper statements you should have to pay for it. Same principle goes for food shopping bags: if you bring your own, you don't pay, if you want to use the bags provided by the grocery store, you pay.

The transition to a new system is painful because it sucks having to pay for something that used to be "free," but ultimately it's a better system. I've been getting almost all my bills and all of my banking statements electronically for a few years now and it sure beats having to keep paper files. I haven't had to print anything yet, but I save everything as PDFs and back them up offsite. I got rid of two filing cabinets that I no longer needed and now have a lot more room in my home office.
 

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Telus

I don't think it says anywhere in their contract that they can charge for this but I'm sure they are just able to cover it up by saying they are being enviromentally friendly. It is better for the enviroment and what I started doing is just saving a PDF of my bill each month.
 

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This is yet another scam from an industry that has gotten fat on such billing practices. Never mind the tree-hugger rhetoric: they are doing this because it saves money for them and raises their profit level, and get to claim browny points for being green. Hogwash. If they were concerned about being green they wouldn't be in a business which fills our landfills with millions of useless handsets every year, rendered useless by ever-changing service plans and upgrades. This perpetual obsolescense makes them very rich. That's what it's all about. Making people pay for getting a paper bill is a money grab, plain and simple.
 

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I was just talking to a good friend of mine about this the other day.

He phoned and complained but the person on the other end said there was nothing that could be done about it , so he said he would cancel his service with them and asked to be put thru to cancellations.

After about 30 seconds or so , someone else answered and said the only thing they could do , was to offer another service for free , so they are going to stop charging him for call waiting and voice mail , which he was paying $6 per month for , so he will actually be ahead by $4 , the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

He has service with them but not under contract , I myself have a contract for a 3G internet and cell phone , I see no where in the contract that allows them to do that , I will be challenging it as well , maybe I can get the same deal.

So yes , it can be challenged , and they will give something up to those who threaten to cancel service , I think everyone should ***** to them about it.
 

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This is yet another scam from an industry that has gotten fat on such billing practices. Never mind the tree-hugger rhetoric: they are doing this because it saves money for them and raises their profit level, and get to claim browny points for being green. Hogwash. If they were concerned about being green they wouldn't be in a business which fills our landfills with millions of useless handsets every year, rendered useless by ever-changing service plans and upgrades. This perpetual obsolescense makes them very rich. That's what it's all about. Making people pay for getting a paper bill is a money grab, plain and simple.
I disagree. If it is cheaper to e-bill they should charge you less. That's what they are doing. Thete are lots of things i don't like about these companies but this isn't one of them.
 

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Not true. The bill cost x before the change. They are charging x + 1 if you wish to maintain status quo. That's an increase. Those who take a cheaper (for the company) service pay the same price as before when they were getting more for their money. How is this not an increase?

You would be right if they were charging x -1 if you e-bill.
 

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I disagree. If it is cheaper to e-bill they should charge you less. That's what they are doing. Thete are lots of things i don't like about these companies but this isn't one of them.
I totally agree. That's not what they are doing... they are adding $2 to the bill plus tax.

If they were to credit ebillers with $2 that would be both legal and correct.

Lets see how it works out.

Paper bill $50 + $2 = $52 + tax
Ebill $50 + tax

Under my proposed system $50 - $2 = $48 plus tax

After all they save money on envelopes... and stamps and personnel required to manage the system etc. The difference is 4$ per customer I'm not sure how many customers they have but we're talking millions per year in extra profit.
 

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Heh you can bet if they creditted existing accounts for opting in to e-billing it wouldn't be $2. It would be the price of a stamp, an envelope and administrative fees to the exact penny.

Probably something like $0.5813451
 

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I keep refusing to switch to e-billing for most of my bills.
Some companies are more pushy than others, such as Bell.
For the supplier, there is indeed a cost to e-billing as well.
The development and maintenance of the website, 24x7 uptime, the storage and archival of all historical bills, etc.
Arguably, it may be marginally cheaper for them if customers switched to e-bills.
I doubt though that the savings for the supplier are substantial enough to pass on as a credit to the consumers.

I refuse to switch because a paper bill forces me to review and analyze the bill every month and catch errors.
Again, some companies are more notorious than others for "errors" in the bills.
The more automatic everything is, the more lazy we get and don't catch errors.

A paper bill also has the effect of staring us in the face every month and reminding us exactly how much we are spending on our "services" each month, such as television, cell phone etc.
With Internet billing, out of sight is out of mind, which works to their advantage.
This "in-the-face" factor has made me re-negotiate and modify my services several times to reduce the total bill.

Eventually, everyone may be forced to switch by punitive paper bill charges.
Until then, I'll hold out as long as I can.
 

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I disagree. If it is cheaper to e-bill they should charge you less. That's what they are doing. Thete are lots of things i don't like about these companies but this isn't one of them.
Less than the non-e-billing or less than what they were paying before they switched to e-billing?

Anyway, just call them and argue until they give you something worthwhile in return.
 

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No sympathy from me here, I'm afraid. I am a fan of e-billing and support the policy of making people pay to get paper statements. E-billing is cheaper and uses fewer resources; it should be the standard for the future. If you want to be the exception and receive paper statements you should have to pay for it...The transition to a new system is painful because it sucks having to pay for something that used to be "free,"...
I agree, and if I were signing a new contract with a service provider and they stipulated a fee for paper-based billing as one of the covenants in that contract, that would be fine, but it is not acceptable, IMO, for service providers to change the terms and conditions of existing contracts mid-term.

I haven't taken a law course in a *lot* of years, but I seem to recall that a significant change to the terms and conditions of a contract by either party is grounds for termination of the contract. Am I remembering that correctly?

This is another example of 'big business' using their size and lack of competition to their advantage.

As a shareholder I am happy (fees = revenue), but as an existing customer I am pissed.
 

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but it is not acceptable, IMO, for service providers to change the terms and conditions of existing contracts mid-term.
On the other hand, I routinely receive amendments to contracts (e.g., from my credit card provider) and when I had a cell contract I often received amendments to that as well. I think I remember seeing some clause in the cellphone contract that gave the provider leeway to add new fees; typically this is allowed as long as the contract holder is notified of the change, although some contracts allow for unilateral changes. I haven't had a cellphone contract for several years now (I have a cell, but it's a contract-free arrangement), so I can't check my paperwork to verify the exact language.

I know it's the principle of the thing, but personally I'm not sure I would spend time pursuing a complaint that would save me $24/year.
 

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On the other hand, I routinely receive amendments to contracts (e.g., from my credit card provider)
The difference is that I can choose to end my relationship with my credit card provider at any time with no fees. That is not the case with my cell phone provider where both parties entered into an agreement for a pre-determined length of time with terms and conditions determined at the time the contract was entered into. If they want to change the terms and conditions (the premise on which the contract is based) then I should have the option to accept and continue the relationship or decline and terminate the relationship.

I agree with you about the $24 per year issue, it is not worthwhile fighting it on an individual basis, it is totally about principle, and surely these companies can see that the optics for them suck. The way they have handled this has done nothing to help their reputation with an already fee-weary-customer base.
 

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On the other hand, I routinely receive amendments to contracts (e.g., from my credit card provider) and when I had a cell contract I often received amendments to that as well. I think I remember seeing some clause in the cellphone contract that gave the provider leeway to add new fees; typically this is allowed as long as the contract holder is notified of the change, although some contracts allow for unilateral changes. I haven't had a cellphone contract for several years now (I have a cell, but it's a contract-free arrangement), so I can't check my paperwork to verify the exact language.
What you are describing is a one-way street. It kind of confirms my assertions about these crooks. It's okay for them to do as you describe, but not okay for you?
 

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If the telecoms change the terms of the contract, you have every right to cancel the contract. If I remember correctly, there's been a recent court challenge about someone who had their terms of the contract changed, and they sued one of the big companies on the basis of change of the terms, and the company was forced to reimburse, allow cancelation of the contract, and pay for the legal fees.
 

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I know it's the principle of the thing, but personally I'm not sure I would spend time pursuing a complaint that would save me $24/year.
Also this type of logic is exactly what business and gov't these days counts on. They figure if they just invent bogus fees and keep adding new ones from time to time, people will just accept it on the basis quoted above.
 
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