by Joanne E. McNeish,  Associate Professor, Marketing, Ryerson University

Once again a telecommunications company is telling its customers that they will no longer receive a paper bill. This time it’s Rogers.

What seems to some to be a non-issue evokes a strong reaction in others. When Telus eliminated paper bills, customers who prefer paper bills were shamed online. Others expressed solidarity with digitally disadvantaged groups or listed reasons why some consumers need paper bills.

But why do banks and billing organizations feel it necessary to stop sending paper bills and statements?

One reason is the cost to print and mail paper. Strangely, most of these organizations are highly profitable, generating healthy returns to shareholders.

The cost to send paper bills is negligible as a percentage of the service cost and the advertising and promotional budgets of banks and most billing organizations. Telecoms are not only profitable, but since they provide Canadians with internet services, they earn revenue from consumers using the web to access, pay their bills and download their billing information.

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