MEDIA RELEASE - LABOR SLAMS FEES FOR PAPER BILLS

TIM HAMMOND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH 

LABOR SLAMS FEES FOR PAPER BILLS

Labor has today drawn the attention of the House of Representatives to the growing practice of utilities, banks and telcos charging pensioners for the dubious privilege of continuing to receive their bills in the mail.

Labor remains concerned that companies are profiteering off vulnerable consumers.

The average fee charged by companies to send documents by post – even receipts and tax invoices that are required to be issued by law – is about $2.50 and in some cases we are aware it is as high as $6.75.

The cost of sending such a document to a consumer (including printing, stuffing and postage) is between $0.94 and $1.11.

The burden of these fees weigh most heavily on those on the wrong side of the digital divide – pensioners, low income families who cannot afford computers, and people in the bush with poor access to internet connectivity.

For many in our community, the digital divide means more than just missing the latest season of Game of Thrones or House of Cards; it means that those who can least afford to do so are being slugged fees and charges for simply receiving information about their bills that should be part of the service that these companies provide.

In Federal Parliament today, Labor called on the Government to bring forward legislation that will give consumers the right to receive documents from companies by post for no extra fee as a matter of urgency.

Tim Hammond’s speech to the House of Representatives is available here: https://www.timhammondmp.com/consumer-affairs-and-resources/2017/5/29/speech-private-members-motion-charging-fees-for-paper-bills-house-of-representatives

MONDAY, 29 MAY 2017