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Journal Chacham's Journal: Verbiage: Online paperless bills. 3

Slashdot had a piece on Paperless Billing. Some comments were interesting. Mentioning that some liked paying online, but wanted the paper as well. Why? So disputes can be handled properly. If the email is the only bill, one is relying on the company to be accurate. If they switch it to cover themselves, there is no real way to fight them. With paper the end-user has something that is considered hard to be forged, and thus if the company makes a mistake, the bill is a proof.

I guess that's exactly what scares me. By having the company both bill and store the bill, the consumer is at a great loss. When the consumer holds on to old bill, he is empowered. I don't want to lose that. So, online paperless billing scares me.

The easy solution (implementable ro not) would be to somehow have an online bill that the user could prove came from the company. Perhaps the comapny signs all bill with their private key (and some organization stored public keys of each company to prove that it is theirs) and the user can decrypt the signing with the public key at any time, thus "proof" that it came from them.

This would help with web pages as well. We know that news providers sometimes pull an online story. There is no real repository for such things to "prove" that they printed it. Perhaps if everything was signed, anyone could store a copy.

I doubt companies would do that, simply because it adds accoutnability. But, i'd feel better about all the transient online stuff if they did.

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Verbiage: Online paperless bills.

Comments Filter:
  • All mine are set up so that I receive paper bills, but pay them online (through the company or through Checkfree). I rarely look at the paper bills, but I do keep them filed away.
  • I imagine if there was enough public demand, companies would start doing it, but like so many things, it's hard to break through from the computer perspective to the general public's perspective...
  • I've been using online billpay through my brokerage company for nearly a year now. Those bills that I receive electronically are stored on a server with security I trust. And I can still pay online for companies that deliver paper.

    The convenience is nice. Not dealing with stamps and checks, also nice. But the real selling point for me was the guarantee that the service will investigate bill problems on my request. And if a mail delay causes one of my bills to be late, the service will pay the late fee.


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