CRTC probes companies that charge for paper bills

07/24/2014 09:10 EDT | Updated 09/23/2014 05:59 EDT
The CRTC is asking telecom companies why some of them charge customers extra fees for paper bills.

Canada's broadcast regulator said Thursday that 36 of the companies in a preliminary examination didn't charge any sort of extra fee for a paper bill. But 27 do charge fees ranging from 99 cents to almost $6 for the privilege of receiving a paper bill — as opposed to online.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said some companies waive the fees for certain customers, such as for those who don't have internet access, but there's no consistent practice across the country.

The regulator said it's concerned that the approach taken by the industry may not take into account the specific circumstances of some customers.

The CRTC is having a meeting to discuss the issue with stakeholders on Aug. 28.

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said he's prepared to look into tougher regulatory options if the industry doesn't come up with a balanced approach that can be implemented across the country and the industry.

"We are concerned that not all Canadians have a reasonable choice when it comes to paper bill fees for communications services," Blais said in statement.

"We are challenging telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to come up with a comprehensive approach that will enable Canadians to make informed decisions."