Everyone hates ninja charges. So imagine the public outcry on November 2 when local daily Berita Harian published an exposé on how Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) was going to incur a surcharge of RM5 to each customer who chooses to receive their monthly bills through the post instead of through TM’s e-billing, come January 2016.
The first stage of complaints were about how this was incredibly unfair to those who were subscribed to TM’s telephone services but not their broadband services. Concerns were also raised about those in rural areas who had little or no access to the Internet being forced to pay an extra RM5 just to receive their bill. The elderly who were not tech-savvy enough were also painted as victims in this apparent scheme by TM.
The second stage addressed the actual charge incurred by TM as well as the lack of communication of this plan from TM to their customers. RM5 for a piece of paper to be sent by post seems a little too much even if you take everything into consideration. This places a big burden on low income households as well, as RM5 a month amounts to RM60 a year in surcharges that have to be paid to TM. Many called this blatant profiteering on the part of TM, something that only TM could have the audacity to do because of their monopoly over the market.
Upon realising that this could escalate into a PR disaster, TM published a notice of clarification on their website, attempting to give the people an explanation on their situation. In the notice, TM cleared up many of the points touched on above including the actual charge that would be incurred on those who chose to receive their bill by snail mail.
According to TM, this was an initiative by the company to move towards a greener and more environmentally friendly billing system where the primary method of billing would be through their e-billing; which could be accessed from their website. TM clarified that the charges would only apply to those who were subscribed to TM’s broadband services, that is, Streamyx and UniFi.
Those who were only subscribed to the telephone service would not be affected and will continue to receive their bill every month, free of charge.
However, TM said that they do encourage their customers who were not subscribed to TM’s broadband services to make the digital switch, a choice they claim has been adopted by over 180,000 TM phone customers already.
On the other hand, those who were subscribed to the aforementioned broadband services but would prefer to have a physical copy of their bill, along with the e-Bill, could sign-up either by sending an email to , visiting their nearest TMpoint, or calling them at 100. Upon signing up, the telecommunications service provider would incur a surcharge of RM2, not the purported RM5.
TM also added that they have begun communicating to their customers since August 2015 through their printed TM bills and have been calling their broadband customers, reminding them to update their preferred email address and telephone number via the abovementioned channels.
With the TM e-Bill, customers would be notified of their monthly bill via email within 4 days and by SMS alert within 7 days after their respective bill dates.