Well once again it seems Keep Me Posted is a global trendsetter!
As we look towards our second birthday, I’ve just heard that a new campaign has been started in Belgium, inspired by our European counterparts Keep Me Posted EU.
Ma Facture, Mon Choix – translated as My Invoice, My Choice – launched last week and has the same aims as we do – to demand choice in how consumers are communicated with by their providers.
Interestingly, unlike in the UK, the law already exists in Belgium that companies should only switch people to electronic bills and statements if they have agreed to the change. The customer must give approval, and has the right to refuse an electronic invoice and insist on a hard copy, for whatever reason. And if opting for a paper invoice, the supplier may not charge the customer extra.
However, the campaign says in reality this does not always happen, as many companies are getting that consent by the back door. Small print can vary the billing conditions to remove a paper option, and simply paying the bill can mean someone has tacitly accepted these new conditions, they say. I don’t know about you, but to me that just seems underhand!
Even worse, while they have the right to paper bills and statements free of charge, 40 per cent of consumers in Belgium are not aware of this right, so don’t challenge it when their paper is removed. The new campaign will hopefully raise awareness of this so more people can exercise their choice.
To avoid misunderstandings Ma Facture, Mon Choix is calling on the law to be changed so that a company has to explicitly ask the consent of the customer if they want to receive their information electronically; they must opt-in with the knowledge of what it will mean - no small print, no confusion, and as the Belgian campaign says “no bitterness”! Something we absolutely agree with.
But come on UK! We’re setting the trend for campaigning, but we’re absolutely behind the curve in making the law to give people that choice. It’s about time we caught up!
Judoth Donovan, Chair, Keep Me Posted