Money Andrew Wilkie fights to scrap fees for paper bills and statements

13:10  19 june  2017
13:10  19 june  2017 Source:   MSN

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Andrew Wilkie (right) speaks at a press conference.© AAP Image/Paul Miller Andrew Wilkie (right) speaks at a press conference. Australian companies would be banned from charging customers for paper bills and statements under proposed draft laws.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has put a private bill to parliament that would also prevent businesses from switching customers to electronic billing without their consent.

Some people simply don't have the internet, he told MPs, or if they do it might not be reliable enough to make sure they always get a copy of invoices.

Mr Wilkie says this will disproportionately impact low-income and disadvantaged Australians.

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"(The bill) simply says that if a company wants to move to electronic statements then it can only do so with the consent of the customer and if the customer does not consent, then that customer will continue to receive paper bills and not be charged," he said on Monday.

Suppliers that don't comply will face penalties.

It follows calls by Labor MP Tim Hammond in May to introduce similar laws.

He wanted legislation that gave Australians the right to receive communications from banks, electricity providers, telcos and others by mail at no extra cost.

Mr Hammond argued that companies often charged a fee as a disincentive and that it did not represent the actual cost incurred by them.

More than half of young Australians have problems paying bills or buying basic necessities .
Around 40% of Australians experienced some form of financial stress in the past three months, and that figure is significantly higher for young people and those on low incomes. That's the sobering news from the National Australia Bank's (NAB) latest Consumer Anxiety Report, which found more than 50% of younger Australians aged between 18 to 29 had difficulty in buying food or paying bills in the past three months."Young people were hardest hit, with more than 1 in 2 (53%) experiencing some form of hardship," the NAB said, adding that around 48% of 30-49 year olds also struggled with their finances.

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