As e-bills become ubiquitous, I ask: How can consumers tolerate now being charged for paper bills?

canada postAs of last week, Telus (and the subsidiary Telus) officially charges $2 per month if a consumer wishes to receive paper bills. You know, the kind mailed to you the old fashioned way.

They’re not the first, certainly—Fido, and Bell do the same. So I am not surprised that Telus joined the club, but I have to ask, how is this fair?


Charging for something that people have come to expect as free for decades seems ludicrous. It’s akin to Superstore and Rona charging five cents per plastic bag. How do they get away with it? The answer is simple: green.

In our now eco-crazed world, businesses can “encourage” us to go green by adding costs to non-green acts, such as paper bills and plastic bags. But is that really right? 

I don’t believe so. I understand that email and phone-texting bills are much cheaper for these companies to distribute, but why must we now get punished for wanting our bills the same way we’ve always had them? There are benefits to paper bills and many still prefer them. But not with a price tag.


The obvious solution is not to add fees for paper bills, but to offer a discount incentive for those who willingly switch to digital bills. See, paper bills haven’t suddenly added costs to Telus. It cost the same before email existed. So them adding $2 is purely profit. But in fact, if you switch to email billing, they’re actually saving money, so instead of offering you “free” billing (which is what billing should always be), they should offer a $1 to $2 discount for those who voluntarily transfer out of paper billing.

That’s the proper approach to take to encourage people to go green, but who expected anything less than financial tyranny from Canadian telecos? Good grief.