My TelstraClear bill this month came with a glossy flyer bearing this little header. The first paragraph advised that the fee for late payment is being increased. The rest of the flyer attempted to use this as leverage in extorting the recipient to sign up for bill payment by credit-card or direct debit.
If there was a viable alternative I'd be thinking about changing something, but it wouldn't be my method of payment. I have a very strong aversion to letting someone else take arbitrary amounts of money from my bank account, and if I'm going to have a question about my bill it's going to be before the corporate gets it's hands on any of my money, not after.
I don't mind that they're changing their T&C, but they could have just sent a letter (or an email). I'm not sure what ticks me off about this leaflet more:
The casual and impersonal insinuation that I might not pay my bills on time / be able to manage my money
- by extension (as I am a fairy unremarkable customer with a good payment history) that they don't trust any of their customers to pay on time - and what does that say about TCs company culture / relationship with it's customers?
The fact that they are trying to change my behaviour through the use of threat and intimidation
- subtext of the flyer is "ooo, if you don't pay your bill on time we might have to send the collectors after you, we wouldn't want that would we, better change to this other way of paying".
Compare this to Meridian Energy's way of encouraging people to pay on time - where TC is using the stick they use the carrot. That 10% discount (disregarding for the moment the fact that their prices are doubtless lifted to compensate) makes you feel good about getting in early, rather than making you feel threatened by not getting in on time.
Apropos of energy companies, Powershop is offering discounted power at the weekends
, if you happen to live in Christchurch/Central Canterbury and have a Smart Meter installed.
It's claimed to be the "the first smart-meter product in New Zealand".