Whilst the internet has brought convenience and opened up opportunities for millions of European citizens and in particular the area of e-commerce, it is also the main reason for the move from transactional mail and paper consumption to online.
More and more businesses and government institutions are seeking opportunities on the digital platform, and very often customers find themselves switching to digital means and in some cases they were incentivised to choose paperless communication or even charged to continue with paper without being given the choice to choose between digital or paper.
Keep Me Posted UK
In the UK last year, a group of representatives from nearly fourty charities, consumer groups and businesses came together under the “Keep Me Posted” UK campaign in which the Royal Mail was an integral part of campaign for the consumer’s right to choose how they receive important financial information such as bills and statements from banks, utility companies, media companies and other service providers without disadvantage. The campaign was a great success in the UK and received support from other charities, pressure groups and politicians who share the interest of these groups to raise questions in their parliament. In turn, much media attention was generated raising the awareness of this issue with the public.
Elsewhere in Europe
As governments institutions and companies move more and more towards digital, regulations begin to also change elsewhere in Europe.
In Austria, the Austrian Post was involved in a consumer campaign together with their consumerOn request, the subscriber shall have the option of receiving the itemized bill on paper free of charge”. The Austrian Post has a launched a new campaign to further educate consumers about their right to choose.
Similarly in France, the French Consumers Organisation “60 millions de consommateurs – Institut national de la consummation” led a similar consumer campaign and as a result a decree was adopted on 31 December 2013 which includes the obligation to provide a paper version of the bill upon simple request by the customer to telephone operators and internet service providers.
These are just two of examples of other campaigns which have had a successful influence on the regulation.
Keep Me Posted EU
Inspired by the UK and similar campaigns, PostEurop together with CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industry), FEPE (European Federation of Envelope Manufacturers), Intergraf (European Federation of Print and Digital Communication) and Royal Mail began discussions last January about setting up a similar campaign aimed at the European Institutions. Keep Me Posted EU was defined and since then the campaign has been endorsed by the PostEurop European Union Affairs Committee as well as the Management Board in June.
On 3 July, KMPEU held its first Steering Group meeting chaired by PostEurop Secretary General, Botond Szebeny. The campaign gathers support from consumer groups and charities that are representing citizens that may be disadvantaged by a lack of choice or simply prefer paper communication. To date, the campaign has received the support of Age Platform Europe (www.age-platform.eu), ANEC (www.anec.org) and Ferpa (ferpa.etuc.org) with many other organisations showing interest.
Simultaneously, background desk research and sharing of information through partners are on-going. A campaign website fortified with information will be launched in coming months. KMPEU partners look forward to holding a new meeting in October 2014.
For more information on Keep Me Posted EU or to become a partner in this campaign please contact Cynthia Wee, PostEurop Communications Manager (E: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Antonio Amaral, PostEurop Market and Intelligence Support (E: Amaral@posteurop.org)