I’ve been in Australia this week, but even though they can’t officially join our UK Keep Me Posted campaign, I’ve found people experiencing similar problems with companies looking to move consumers’ bills and statements online rather than on paper.
We’ve even had supportive tweets from our Aussie friends, including my favourite “You guys rock! Gotta get your ideas working Down Under”!
With around 10% of the Australian population not using the internet, I suspect they have similar issues to those we have documented in the UK – rural areas not connected, older people who can’t or choose not to engage with the technology, those with disabilities more likely not to have used it.
But in Europe, there is even more of a pressing need to have the right to choose paper. Our European counterparts Keep Me Posted EU say 21% of European households don’t have access to the internet.
In Germany, 72% have said they see no advantages in switching to digital bills, while in Austria, 71% prefer printed versions of bills and other documents over their electronic counterparts.
In Finland, opting for paper-based invoices is a basic right and charging consumers extra fees for paper invoices is unlawful. In a test case against mobile phone firm ELISA, the Finnish Market Court decided that the €1,90 charge for a paper invoice was unlawful, disputing the claim that the practice was widespread, saved the environment and supported the move towards a “knowledge society”. The Court even threatened the firm with a €100,000 fine if they did not comply.
I’m sure you’ll agree that’s the spirit we’d like to see in the UK! And if Australia does decide to set up a Keep Me Posted group of its own, we – and I suspect Finland – will support them all the way.