Donovan backs fight over digital bills

2013-07-09 09_42_20-Judith DonovanDirect marketing matriarch Judith Donovan is spearheading a new campaign to stem the rise of paperless bills, amid claims that millions of consumers could fall into debt simply because they do not have the means to access digital communications.
The campaign, dubbed Keep Me Posted, represents charities, consumers and businesses who are concerned at the growing lack of choice offered to consumers about how they receive important communications.
Funded by the three main UK postal operators, Royal Mail, TNT Post and UK Mail, the initiative is being supported by mental health charity Mind, the National Consumer Federation, The National Federation of Occupational Pensioner  and the Post Office.
Keep Me Posted campaign partners believe every consumer should be able to choose, without being penalised, a paper copy of communications from banks, utility companies and other service providers. At the moment, many firms charge a premium for this service.
According to ONS Q1 2013 data, 7.1 million adults (14%) in the UK have never used the Internet, while statistics from GoOnUK reveal that 16 million people in the UK aged 15 and over still do not have basic Internet skills
Perhaps more pressing is independent research from Opinium, which reveals 84% of adults are unhappy when companies take away their right to choose how they are communicated with, but there is currently little legislation or regulation to prevent this. Meanwhile, 40% say the removal of paper statements entirely could seriously affect their finances, such as missing a bill payment.
The Keep Me Posted campaign is calling for businesses and other organisations to offer consumers the right to choose by adopting the campaign’s six-point ‘right to choose’ pledge, which can be seen at www.keepmeposteduk.com.
Chair of the Keep Me Posted campaign Judith Donovan said: “In my daily life I hear many concerns about the move to paperless bills and statements but even more concerns about the consumer choice being removed. There is no doubt that some businesses have forgotten to take their customers with them on that journey.”
Mind head of information Bridget O’Connell added: “In the current economic climate, where so many people are struggling with financial worries, we are very concerned that 4 in 10 people say the removal of paper statements entirely could seriously affect their finances, leading even to missing a bill payment. The link between debt and mental health problems is well known and businesses should be interacting with people in a way that supports good financial management.”

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