Watchdog critical of O2 billing plan
A CONSUMERS' group has hit out at phone operator O2 over its plans to introduce online billing for its customers.
The company plans for customers to receive their monthly bill online instead of receiving it by post following a trial it conducted earlier this year.
The Consumers' Association of Ireland (CAI) has branded the process as "unfair" and says it is forcing customers to go through a process of opting out if they want to continue receiving their bills through the post.
"This is an unfair way of dealing with customers and is forcing them to go with online billing," CAI chairman, James Doorley said last night.
He urged O2 to withdraw the plans, which would force customers to opt out of the online process if they preferred their bills through the post.
While customers were being told by letter that they would not be getting a paper bill in future, he believed the majority would not spot the change and would be surprised when their bills stop arriving by post.
"This of course is a major cost saving for O2, but from a consumer perspective people should get a bill/invoice so they know what they are paying for and of course online services don't suit everyone.
"I also think people are more likely to check their bills if they get them in the post," he said.
Mr Doorley said he had no difficulty with O2 encouraging its customers to change to the new billing system, but customers should be given the choice to opt in rather than out.
O2 has has about 1.7 million customers here but more than a million are prepay customers. O2 said in addition to the letter, customers would receive two text messages reminding them of the change.