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Consumers' Union: Printed bills should not cost extra

The Consumers' Union of Finland NGO says that it is wrong for companies to charge customers extra for a bill printed out on paper. The union has demanded that consumer protection laws be changed so that paper-based bills would - like their electronic-based bill counterparts - be required to be free of charge.

Laskupino.
Pile of printed bills. File photo. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The Consumers' Union of Finland says it wants consumers to be able to receive bills printed out on paper free-of-charge. Currently companies are allowed to charge a fee for printed bills sent in the mail.

The union first took issue with the growing trend when telecoms firm Elisa began charging its customers 1.90 euros per printed bill.

The issue was wrangled through the Finnish legal system, but eventually the Supreme Court ruled that businesses have a right to charge for paper bills.

Despite the ruling, the Consumers' Union says it wants consumer protection law to be changed.

Elisa charging even more

Elisa has since raised the fee for paper bills to 2.90 euros per invoice, which amounts to a total of some 34.80 euros per year.

The union says the charges for 12 invoices is comparable to an entire month's phone bill.

The Consumers' Union also says that charging fees for the paper bills puts consumers on an uneven playing field - saying it is often people with lower incomes who do not have access to internet banking or smartphones who end up paying more to pay their bills.

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