When we launched Keep Me Posted last year, it was a UK-only campaign. Now it seems we raised the flag for European consumers to follow too, some of whom, ironically, seem to be on course for getting the choice we are fighting for before we do here.
Last week I met up with some wonderful ladies from across Europe, who had asked to observe at our steering group to see how we run things. They want to start their own version of Keep Me Posted in places like Belgium and Germany where people are having similar issues to those we have highlighted – that not everyone can or wants to manage their financial affairs online, and they should have that choice to keep paper bills and statements without paying for them if that’s how best they run their affairs.
And this week we’ve heard that in France, organisations have been reminded by Minister Benoit Hamon that the consumer has a right to ask for a paper bill free of charge. Though as far as we can tell, that means the customer has to make the effort to ask, at least they can get one at no cost to them! Imagine if we had something similar here, where everyone currently paying something like £1.50 for a single piece of paper could call and demand it for no charge… I think the phones to the call centres of banks, energy companies and communications businesses would be red hot.
Some compatriots from Spain, who we briefed very early on about Keep Me Posted have set up their own campaign and are getting things moving. We’re told that a new legislation to protect consumer communication choice is currently going through the Spanish parliament. And outside Europe, people are discussing something similar in New Zealand.
The campaign has really touched a nerve, and while we’re beavering away in the UK, with our Early Day Motion, our wonderful supporters and political debates, it’s good to know we’re not alone. Now, anyone know the Spanish for Keep Me Posted?