CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Friday November 28, , 2014, CMC – The telecommunications company, LIME, which has come under heavy criticism over plans to implement fees for customers accessing “paper bills” says it has scrapped the initiative.
“In response to customer feedback, LIME has decided not to implement the paper bill fees, as previously advised,” said the company’s chief executive officer, Southern Cluster, Geraldine Pitt.
“I’m pleased to announce that we will continue free paper bills beyond January 1, for those who prefer this traditional method,” she added.
Earlier this week, Telecommunications Minister Dr. James Fletcher, wrote to the telecommunications company expressing concern at the decision to charge customers EC$6.18 (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) monthly, as of 1st January 2015, for printed copies of their bills.
“This decision by LIME will disadvantage a large segment of our population who use LIME as a service provider but do not have access to internet services, either through mobile or fixed broadband,” Fletcher wrote.
He said that in a country where broadband penetration was less than 20 per cent and in some communities, like Canaries on the west coast, as low as 13.2 per cent, LIME’s decision will place the bulk of its customers at a severe financial disadvantage.
In his letter, copies of which were sent to the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the St Lucia’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), Fletcher urged the company to revisit its decision to charge customers who opt for a printed, posted monthly bill.
But Pitt said that “LIME is a customer-focused company that listens to feedback and although a number of people are in favour of online e-Bill payment, some customers still prefer their paper bill by post and so we will aim to satisfy the request of both groups.
“We would still like to encourage customers to sign up for e billing and so it remains part of our Christmas promotion which was launched on November 17, 2014. We are also making changes to reward sign up to electronic bills. Customers will receive information about these rewards at a later date,” she said.
LIME said it has upgraded its e-Billing system and was inviting customers to choose this “environmentally friendly” method of receiving their bills.
“We want customers to sign up to electronic bills and our team in store can provide assistance to persons wishing to do so; however there will be no charge.”
The statement noted that receiving bills by email is a growing industry trend that the company hopes it will be able to adopt with greater broadband penetration in the future.