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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

CRTC to meet with telecom and cable companies about paper bill fees

OTTAWA - The CRTC will meet with telecommunication and cable companies next month to discuss extra fees many of them charge customers who wish to receive paper bills.

The federal regulator says that while a majority of companies it looked at do not charge any fees, many do.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says its examination found 36 companies did not charge extra fees, while 27 other charged fees that ranged from 99 cents to $5.95 a month for paper bills.

Certain companies provide exemptions to these fees, such as for customers who do not have Internet access, but there is no consistent practice across the industry, the regulator said.

The meeting is to be held Aug. 28.

The CRTC says it is concerned that the approach taken by the industry may not take into account the specific circumstances of some customers.

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais warned that he was prepared to explore regulatory options if the industry failed to find an appropriate approach.

"We are concerned that not all Canadians have a reasonable choice when it comes to paper bill fees for communications services," Blais said in statement.

"We are challenging telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to come up with a comprehensive approach that will enable Canadians to make informed decisions."

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