Top Canadian Telecoms Fail to Meet Keep Me Posted Best Practices for Essential Communications
Keep Me Posted (KMP) North America’s review of Canada’s top telecommunications companies – Bell Canada, Rogers Communications and Telus/Koodo – exposed a sharp negative contrast with their U.S. counterparts when it comes to addressing consumer needs and expectations related to essential communications.
As part of its ongoing mission to ensure consumers are given a clear choice in how they receive essential information — on paper or digitally — and that they are not charged extra for paper bills and statements, KMP is investigating how large corporations are addressing consumer needs and expectations. Unlike the majority of America’s top 10 Fortune 500 telecoms, Canada’s leading telecoms fail to meet KMP’s best practices for essential communications, which include:
- Prior consumer consent required before ceasing to send paper documents
- No change in paper bill frequency without prior agreement
- No difficulty to revert back to paper correspondence
- Continued access to online options
None of Canada’s three largest telecommunications conglomerates put their customers’ preferences first, with each failing to seek prior consent before ceasing to send paper bills and other documents. While paper had been the default for all three companies in the past, Rogers made digital communication the default earlier this year. Telus/Koodo eliminated paper altogether using a variety of reasons including unsubstantiated environmental claims and most recently, the pandemic. While Bell defaults customers to electronic communication, it stands alone in making it relatively painless to revert back to paper.
Canadian telecommunications providers were prohibited from charging a fee for paper bills and statements in recent years. Leading providers have since been challenging whether they are required to send paper documents at all. KMP filed comments to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) urging the regulatory body to stand up for Canadian consumers and require all telecommunications providers to offer paper billing at no extra charge. That testimony included compelling results from KMP research, including the fact that 82% of Canadian consumers believe they should have the right to choose how they receive communications, and 80% believe they should have the right to revert to paper options after choosing digital products or services.
1 A case study that tested the efficacy of paper versus electronic billing found that paper outperformed digital in securing timely payments, and the need to follow up on e-mailed invoices significantly increased customer service costs.