The Keep Me Posted campaign registers a significant step forward in ensuring consumer choice
In an email to consumers in the fall of 2018, AT&T informed customers that they would be automatically switched to paperless billing as a default and that they would be required to opt-in to paper statements if they still wanted them. Essentially, the email stated “you’re going paperless” without asking customers for their consent.
More and more corporate service providers are removing consumer choice and ignoring the needs and preferences for paper bills and statements by millions of customers.
After receiving several complaints from consumers, Keep Me Posted North America (KMP) initiated a dialogue with AT&T requesting that it revise its communications to give the customer a clear option to choose between paper and online billing rather than automatically switching customers to e-delivery. We also noticed that the company’s communications did not match with its own internal policy regarding how it obtains customer consent.
The KMP campaign makes it clear that digital-only communication is not for everyone. In a recent survey by Toluna, 86% of U.S. consumers made it clear that they want a choice when it comes to how they receive important information – on paper or electronically – from their service providers.
Many customers have difficulty accessing online technology, have security concerns about online fraud, or require paper communications for practical reasons. These include older adults, people with disabilities, low income households without computers or broadband service, and people in rural areas where unreliable internet access is common.
BEFORE (FALL 2018) – AT&T email advising customers of the automatic switch to online billing.
AFTER (Fall 2019) – AT&T changes the language to get customer consent to switch to online billing, and defaults back to paper billing if they do not receive e-mail confirmation.
“While many corporate service providers are aggressively pushing paperless billing to help save on costs, it is good to see that some leading corporations like AT&T are listening to their customers and no longer making paperless communication the default option,” says Phil Riebel, Campaign Director for Keep me Posted North America.
About Keep Me Posted North America
Keep Me Posted advocates for the right of every consumer in North America to choose, free of charge, how they receive important information – on paper or electronically – from their service providers. KMP is a coalition of consumer groups, charities and businesses who are committed to protecting consumer access to paper-based communications at no extra charge. These consumers include older adults, the disabled, low-income households without computers, printers or broadband service, and people in rural areas where unreliable internet access is common.