Sunday, September 14, 2014

Battling The Egregiousity Of 'Pay-To-Pay' Billing...And Winning.


Negative billing by the greedheads is one thing.

But 'Pay-To-Pay' billing wherein the same fine folks force their customers to pay extra for receiving a bill to pay their bills is, in the view of many, in the words of everybody's worst of all worst villians...


Especially because the vile act most often hits seniors, who often wait for their bills by mail, the hardest.

And yet, until one politician and his group of young charges decided to use the same strategy that make Indie-Rock work, the powers that be didn't care a wit.

That politician, Davenport Ontario Dipper MP Andrew Cash, explained how he and his cadre of kids changed all that recently in the TStar:

...(Y)ou may be surprised to hear that there are similarities between politics and rock and roll. For both, when you mount a project, the first thing you need is a good name. We asked one of our volunteers, Wyatt Shorter, who at the time was a high school student, if he had any ideas that would best describe this ripoff. “How about pay to pay,” he suggested, “because you have to pay a fee to pay your bill.” That was it!

With the help of another remarkable young Portuguese-speaking volunteer, Sara Marques, we met with immigrant seniors' groups in the area who wanted action. Aided by years of solid reporting on the issue, primarily by the Star, consumer and seniors advocates gave their support, and within days of its posting thousands had signed our petition online.

Still the government sat on its hands, claiming that a volunteer code of conduct was enough to protect Canadians from unfair billing practices. But as the pressure mounted, with the petition soon surpassing 10,000 signatures from people across the country, a shift began to take hold. The CRTC, Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator, was initially dismissive but later sent a letter asking Bell to stop charging the fee to seniors. Other companies began considering exemptions.

However these were ineffectual measures and the government signalled in its Speech from the Throne last October that a ban was on the way. I laughed out loud in the lobby of the House of Commons when I heard the Governor General say the words “pay to pay,” doubtless the Queen's representative in Canada had no idea he was using a phrase coined by a high school student in Davenport...

Beauty way to go, eh?

Tip O' The Toque to Accidental Deliberations' always excellent links round-up for pointing us towards Mr. Cash's piece.


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