Telecommunications company eir is set go ahead with charging customers for their email service after postponing it earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite so many people being left out of work because of the current health crisis eir proposes to proceed with plans to charge customers for a service for which they never had to pay previously.
These include residents of Ennis Co Clare who received the special ‘firstname.lastname@example.org addresses when the town won the then £15m (Eircom) Information Age Town competition in 1997.
When first announced, customers were to be allowed a two-month window from March 31st during which they would have to decide whether they wished to keep the email address and pay for it, or forfeit the facility.
Customers have been warned to download any emails or addresses in their accounts if they decide not to pay for the service or those accounts will be ‘permanently deleted’ after 60 days.
Angry customers then bombarded eir with complaints on social media about the proposed charge while people also called on the company to step up and drop the charge during the current health crisis.
An eir spokesperson said in March: “In light of the outbreak of COVID-19, eir has taken the decision to put the subscription charge for the eircom.net email service on hold for the foreseeable future. Last month eir announced the introduction of a subscription charge from March 31st, 2020, to enable investment in the maintenance and improvement of the service.”
“eir’s priority during these challenging times is the maintenance of essential communication services for all eir customers,” the company said.
Now however, the company plans to proceed with the new charge from July 1st.
A spokesperson said: “eir is currently contacting customers as it will introduce a €5.99/month subscription charge for the eircom.net email service from July 1st, 2020. The charge will be used to invest in the maintenance and improvement of the service going forward.
If an account holder does not login to their account when prompted and add payment details, they will not have access to emails and the account will be permanently deleted 60 days later (end September). Service users can visit eir.ie/support/webmail to learn more.”
Ennis Fine Gael councillor Mary Howard has expressed disappointment that Eir has decided to charge their loyal customers for the use of their email platform.
“Eir has specific obligations in the provision of communication services in this Country and this action of charging for the use of the email platform directly contradicts those obligations. I implore the Minister with the responsibility for communications and Comrge to intervene to halt this new charging regime.
There are a wide variety of free email platforms, and Eir are making it clear that they are no longer interested in providing this service as it is more trouble than it is worth. But, that is not a good enough reason or excuse as the majority of users are loyal community groups and organisations along with our older generation who are not familiar with the other email platforms, and are not proficient with the technological know-how to change platforms. Thousands will feel trapped into paying the monthly subscription. In these testing times I find Eir’s actions to be very unfair and greedy.