The Keep Me Posted campaign, which is pressing for the consumer’s right to choose how they are contacted by banks, utility companies and other service providers, has been joined by The Church In Wales.
In the face of an increasing trend for businesses to switch their customers to mainly digital communication, the campaign is calling for service providers to give customers the choice to retain paper bills without charge. Research from the campaign shows that it is often the poor and most vulnerable people in society who rely the most on traditional methods of communication.
The Church, which takes very seriously the economic, social and environmental needs of the communities of Wales, and works in areas of deprivation facing economic inactivity, poverty, debt and low skills, has recognised the barriers many people have to using the internet.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “With churches in every community across Wales we see at first hand the challenges many people face in getting online. The challenges come either because they live in rural areas with limited or no access to broadband, cannot afford the equipment, the monthly bills and the on-going cost of maintenance or simply because the internet age came too late in their lives to persuade them to engage. Whatever the reason, far too many people are being penalised or disadvantaged,.”
Keep Me Posted’s most recent research revealed the average person will pay an extra £440 per year for goods and services compared to those who use the internet.* In parts of Wales one in five people have never been online and with the Gwent and Central valleys topping the Welsh table, that’s an added burden in typically cash-deprived areas.
“By all means encourage people to pay their bills online,” says the Archbishop, “but it is unfair to discriminate against those who can’t.That is why The Church In Wales is happy to support Keep Me Posted in its campaign for consumer choice.”
The Keep Me Posted campaign is chaired by Judith Donovan CBE and is a partnership of representatives from more than 60 concerned organisations such as Mind, the mental health charity, RNIB, Dementia UK, financial education charities MyBnk and pfeg and the National Consumer Federation. In Wales, Age Cymru, the Wales Council for Voluntary Services and the Welsh Senate of Older People are supporters, while two renowned Welsh organisations, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Principality Building Society have led the way in consumer choice by adopting Keep Me Posted’s six-point pledge.
Judith Donovan CBE, Chair, of the Keep Me Posted campaign, says,
“In my daily life I hear many concerns about the move to paperless bills and statements but even more concerns about the right to choose being taken away from consumers. There is no doubt that many businesses, in their drive for greater efficiency and cost savings, have forgotten to take their customers with them on that journey. The Church In Wales is often at the forefront, working in the community with many vulnerable people who are affected by this drive to digital, and I am pleased to welcome them as supporters of the Keep Me Posted campaign.”
Keep Me Posted figures reveal that 44 per cent of people believe their financial records would be incomplete without paper statements while 41 per cent said they worried about missing a payment without a physical reminder.
You can sign up to the Keep Me Posted campaign yourself by calling 020 7566 9773 or 029 2039 2569, writing to Keep Me Posted, 24a St John Street, London EC1M 4AY or sharing your stories, preferences and experiences at www.keepmeposted.uk.com.