As e-bills become ubiquitous, I ask: How can consumers tolerate now being charged for paper bills?

by Knowlton Thomas

canada postAs of last week, Telus (and the subsidiary Telus) officially charges $2 per month if a consumer wishes to receive paper bills. You know, the kind mailed to you the old fashioned way.

They're not the first, certainly—Fido, and Bell do the same. So I am not surprised that Telus joined the club, but I have to ask, how is this fair?


Charging for something that people have come to expect as free for decades seems ludicrous. It's akin to Superstore and Rona charging five cents per plastic bag. How do they get away with it? The answer is simple: green.

In our now eco-crazed world, businesses can "encourage" us to go green by adding costs to non-green acts, such as paper bills and plastic bags. But is that really right? 

I don't believe so. I understand that email and phone-texting bills are much cheaper for these companies to distribute, but why must we now get punished for wanting our bills the same way we've always had them? There are benefits to paper bills and many still prefer them. But not with a price tag.


The obvious solution is not to add fees for paper bills, but to offer a discount incentive for those who willingly switch to digital bills. See, paper bills haven't suddenly added costs to Telus. It cost the same before email existed. So them adding $2 is purely profit. But in fact, if you switch to email billing, they're actually saving money, so instead of offering you "free" billing (which is what billing should always be), they should offer a $1 to $2 discount for those who voluntarily transfer out of paper billing.

That's the proper approach to take to encourage people to go green, but who expected anything less than financial tyranny from Canadian telecos? Good grief.

Telus Corp.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Technology is a key enabler for TELUS and our customers, providing advantage and differentiation in the marketplace. By managing the life cycle of current technologies and the timely introduction of new technologies we deliver superior service value to our customers and long-term growth oriented investment performance to our shareholders. For investors, TELUS is succeeding in managing... more

Bell Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Operating under the Bell brand, the Company's services include Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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