Extra fee forces consumers’ hand

The Internet may be the greatest breakthrough of the late 20th century, but there are still some kinks in the system. Security issues abound when transmitting sensitive information through cyberspace, and access remains a problem for people who cannot get to a computer or who simply don’t own one.

All these reasons aside, corporations are poised to begin charging a fee to customers who want their monthly bills in paper statement format.

This is an unfair charge and forces consumers to trust a shady information submission medium.

The Internet has become safer in the past three to five years. The number of people using the World Wide Web to pay bills, send e-mail and conduct business has risen exponentially and implies that we are indeed moving into an era dominated by high speed connections.

However, companies like Primus and MetroPCS are raising the bar by forcing their customers to pay their bills online. The penalty if they don’t?

A monthly charge to cover the administrative costs of sending out a bill: mainly postage and printing costs.

If companies are really this hard up for money, surely there is another way to recoup the loss. Customers already pay too much for basic services, such as electricity and cable, and it is these companies who have been the first to charge extra.

Even State Farm Insurance and USAA are charging some consumers a fee, and American Express, one of the leading credit cards for businesses, is charging its merchant clients for paper statements.

Electronic bills may be the wave of the future. Most definitely this streamlined method of paying bills and receiving notices is the next thing to be accepted into mainstream culture.

But to penalize clients for being a little cautious with their money and not paying bills online is jumping the gun.

As society becomes more high-tech, mailmen may become a thing of the past.