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A Cautionary Tale: T-Mobile Forced to Cancel Plans to Charge a Monthly Fee for Paper Statements

image According to today’s Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile has backed down from its plan to start charging its customers $1.50 per month for paper statements (see my 22 Aug Tweet, inset, and T-Mobile landing page, below).

Apparently, a customer backlash prompted the reversal, coupled with the threat of government intervention over the proposed change that was to go into effect this week (note 1) . 

Lesson: Banks and card issuers are working hard to eliminate paper statements from their cost structure. But, be warned that consumers are not ready for an estatement mandate. It’s better to offer various enticements to go electronic rather than forcing a new fee or paperless policy on customers. See our previous coverage for ideas to incent estatement usage.  

T-Mobile landing page for estatement signup (link, 22 Aug 2009)


T-Mobile account management Billing & Payments page (16 Sep 2009)
Surprisingly, T-Mobile doesn’t currently even have an option on its billing page to turn the paper statement off. 


1. New York’s attorney general warned T-Mobile that it could not impose new charges without giving customers the option of ending service contracts early.