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Digital or Paper Communications? Campaign Fights for Right to Choose

Categories: Ideas and Innovation
keep me posted choice paper communications

Do you prefer to receive important documents digitally or on paper? Either way, we believe you should be able to choose. Unfortunately, corporations don’t often give consumers a choice between digital and paper communications. The default is frequently digital, and consumers can find it difficult to revert to paper communications. To make matters more challenging, the choice to receive paper often comes at a cost.

That is where the Keep Me Posted campaign comes in.

Keep Me Posted

Keep Me Posted advocates for your right to choose how you receive information — printed or digitally. The campaign also asks companies to eliminate the extra fees associated with paper communications and to ask consumers for consent before replacing paper with digital documents.

“We are a pro-citizens’-rights campaign. We are standing up for people who may be disadvantaged by their lack of choice on how to receive important communications, and for people who don’t agree to the switch to digital that is being imposed on them,” says Phil Riebel, president of Two Sides North America, the organization that developed and operates the North American campaign.

“Our goal is to generate grassroots support to protect the consumer’s right to choose between paper, digital and any other available delivery method,” says Riebel. “We present independent research to quantify negative impacts and penalties for consumers who are denied paper communications, and we monitor service providers’ digital communication policies, both to educate consumers and to urge companies to do the right thing by giving consumers free and viable choices.”

The Digital Divide

Many consumers report difficulties in using new payment technologies; many also require paper communications. Older adults and people with disabilities may have challenges accessing electronic records. Such challenges also exist for low-income and rural residents who can’t afford or, in some cases, even access home internet services and/or computers.

According to a study from Pew Research, just 45 percent of adults in the United States with annual incomes of less than $30,000 used broadband at home. This compares to 67 percent of those with incomes between $30,000 and $49,999; the percentages go up as income increases. In Canada, 64 percent of families in the lowest 20 percent income bracket used the internet at home compared to a national average of nearly 87 percent.

Even for those who prefer digital communications, storing or accessing sensitive documents online could lead to disaster in the event of data breaches and identity theft, both of which are becoming more common every year.

A study by the Insurance Information Institute found that a record-breaking 16.7 million people in the United States were victims of identity fraud in 2017. Also that year, more Social Security numbers were exposed than credit card numbers.

Yet each day more companies are forcing consumers to go paperless and even charging inflated fees for access to critical personal and financial paper communications.

What Can You Do?

If you would like to join the efforts of the Keep Me Posted campaign to keep your right to choose paper communications, then take a look at how you can take action:

  • Sign up for campaign updates and to share your personal experiences.
  • Ask your service providers to note your preference to receive paper communications.
  • Follow and share the Keep Me Posted campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about Domtar’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers’ right to receive paper communications.