Commissioner's Blog: Avoid paying extra fees for paper billing
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Many consumers may not realise that some companies charge extra fees to send bills by mail to cover their printing and postage costs, but there are ways to avoid paying these charges.
For many consumers, the simplest option is to receive your bills electronically – by email or via the company’s app. Check the company’s website or contact the company directly to find out how you can change to online billing.
If you are not able to receive bills electronically, then find out if you are eligible for an exemption from paper billing fees.
Over the course of a year, these charges for paper billing all add up, especially for people on a low income. By opting out of paper billing or claiming the fee exemption, you could save a considerable amount each year.
Companies have different rules about when they will give exemptions. Some companies will give an exemption to customers if they:
- Are seniors.
- Are registered for a concession.
- Receive income support.
- Are on a hardship program.
- Do not have internet access.
Contact each of your providers and ask if you’re eligible for an exemption from paper bill fees, and how to apply.
If you have friends or family who may be eligible for an exemption, then let them know who to contact and how they can apply, so they can avoid paying extra fees for paper bills as well.
Also remember to be wary about fake billing scams via phone calls or emails. Scammers sometimes try to trick consumers by sending emails that look like they are from a legitimate company. The email may ask you to send money for an overdue account.
Contact the company directly if you receive an email or phone call about a bill and think it might be a scam. To make sure you are contacting the actual company and not a scammer, get the contact details from a previous legitimate bill or an online search.
If an email says you owe money but you are not a customer of that company, then it’s best to delete the email. Never click on links or open attachments in an email if you are not sure about the sender. More information about billing scams is available at www.scamnet.wa.gov.au.
And if you have checked with a provider and found that you are eligible for an exemption from paper billing fees but are having trouble getting your exemption processed, then please contact us for assistance. You can visit our website at www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au, call 1300 30 40 54 or email your query to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about paper billing is also available at www.consumerlaw.gov.au/paperbilling.
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