September 3 2010 by Ellen Roseman
I know mobile phone companies are going paperless, setting off a lively debate here. But I didn’t know that Canada’s largest bank had done the same thing.
In May, RBC Royal Bank stopped sending paper statements to its personal banking clients. David, who wrote to me, doesn’t remember getting any notice.
I went through a lot of paperwork this past weekend and realized I hadn’t received a statement since April. The May and June statements I printed from the computer, assuming they were lost in the mail.
When I noticed I hadn’t received July’s statement either, I finally broke down and called the bank. It turns out they just decided not to send me statements any more.
The rep explained that it was my responsibility to call them to ask to continue to receive statements. Of course, I got the whole pre-scripted lies about how RBC cares about the enviroment. RBC only cares about this quarter’s profits.
The move came at a time when fees went up. David used to pay $4 a month for 15 debits, plus one automatic payroll deposit, and 50 cents for each additional debit. Now his $4 a month covers 15 debits, but no payroll deposits, and he pays 65 cents for each additional debit.
He also complains that RBC bungled his order of new cheques last May.
I had finished cheque 100, so asked that it start at 101. This was too challenging a request, as the order I received started at 151. I want sequential cheques for my accounting/taxes, so had to call again asking for a correct set to start at 101.
Ellen, you would have thought I had asked for the keys to Fort Knox. The woman on the phone refused, stating I had to go into the branch and give them the cheques starting at 151 before they would order me a set at 101.
I refused. It was their mistake, not mine, I wasn’t going to be inconvenienced. It took over 4 phone calls before someone would help me. The big joke? The next set of cheques came and started at 001!
Another phone call, begging, please, can you submit a simple cheque order for me? Again, the same hassle that I’d have to go into the bank before anyone would help me. As if my whole existence in May and June was planning how to rip off a set of cheques.
Matt Gierasimczuk, an RBC spokesman, promised to send David’s complaints to the client care centre to follow up with him and make sure it wouldn’t happen again.
So, why did the bank move to electronic statements only?
At RBC, we firmly believe that reducing our environmental footprint, and promoting more environmentally friendly practices, products and services, is not only our responsibility as Canadians, but itâ€™s also good business.
Since January 2006, over 4.7 million RBC accounts have switched to eStatements, saving approximately 980 metric tonnes of paper or 28,000 trees every year.
If a client wishes to continue receiving paper statements, however, we are more than happy to provide this at no cost.
David’s response? No, thanks.
I could get them for free, but it’s similar to the Rogers negative option billing fiasco years ago.
Their customers should have to call them to request a change, not have paperless forced on them and have to contact them to get what they were always getting.