Telstra drops the $2.20 fee*

*Well, the fee has almost been dropped.

CHOICE has criticised Telstra for the introduction of a $2.20 fee which comes into effect today for customers who prefer to pay their bill by mail or in person at Telstra or Australia Post outlets.

After receiving a number of complaints in writing and by phone CHOICE chief executive Nick Stace has written and spoken with Telstra chief David Thodey asking for him to reconsider the policy and withdraw the fee.

CHOICE says it unfairly penalises customers who do not adopt Telstra’s preferred payment method.

During a telephone conversation this afternoon Mr Stace said Mr Thodey signalled he’s prepared to be more flexible and offer greater exemptions to the fee, including Commonwealth Seniors.

Mr Thodey will instruct Telstra call centre staff to be "sympathetic" to customers’ reasons for wanting to pay cash and then remove the charges. Mr Thodey cited customers not liking online banking as one possible reason.

Mr Thodey has agreed to take further consumer concerns very seriously and has invited people to give feedback, (click on the Your Say button). “Telstra’s new CEO has said publicly ever since taking on the role that he is determined to make customer service his top priority,” said CHOICE chief executive Nick Stace.

“The $2.20 charge flies in the face of giving customers more of what they want and we want a clear statement that the charge will be dropped for everyone. Under pressure Mr Thodey has gone three quarters of the way there by indicating that customers will be exempt if they call Telstra with a good reason to carry on paying cash. This is a partial victory for people power.”

CHOICE wants Telstra to stick to its word and says consumers who don’t receive a "sympathetic" voice at Telstra should email so CHOICE can take up the issue on their behalf.

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New Telstra fee not compulsory

Telstra’s CEO has a change of heart – anyone with concerns can be exempt from the new fee that came into effect today.

14 Sep 2009 | Telstra’s new $2.20 fee, charged to customers who don’t pay their bills electronically, will no longer be forced on customers who ring Telstra to express why they need to continue paying in cash.

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