This week, I, like many other Canadians, received a forwarded email message from a concerned family member. Entitled, ‘Email surcharge for Canada Post for a service they don’t provide?!’, this email warned me that the Post Office was pushing through legislation to place a surcharge of $.05 on every email sent to make up for lost profits in paper mail.
‘No way!’ thought I. A company cannot charge for a product or service they do not themselves provide, and anyhow, who’s to say whether email users would even use paper mail for all their messages if the internet was not available – it’s likely that the telephone company is the one losing out. Canada Post would have a tough time passing such an illogical and erroneous piece of legislation such as the alleged ‘Bill 602P’ through the House of Commons. Especially when Bill 602P does not actually exist.
Not only is this email entirely fictitious, but it has been circulating for several years now in more countries than our own. The lawyer and politician mentioned in the email do not seem to exist except in various versions of the same email warning, and what’s more, Canada Post has issued a statement in regard to the allegations: Canada Post wants to inform Canadians that an Internet rumour about plans for a five-cent charge to be applied by Canada Post to every email message is entirely fictitious and has no basis in fact. (Internet Rumour: Canada Post Sets the Record Straight)
So the question remains, who is responsible for this sham “warning”? While the original concept may be untraceable, our Canadian version of the story seems to have come from someone called AJ Mac, care of http://www.IdeaMarketers.com. This website is a virtual database of all kinds of writing content that can be bought and used on anyone’s personal or business website. Essentially, “AJ Mac”, described as “an Internet Marketer and writer living in Canada,” is selling news to gullible folk who don’t have the time or patience to do a little background research.
Mac’s email urges us, “Don’t sit by and watch your freedoms erode away! Send this email to all Canadians on your list and tell your friends and relatives to write to their MP and say “No!” to Bill 602P.” Instead, I implore you to write to Mac himself at his given address of firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe you could thank him for his fair and well documented news writing. Or maybe you’d just like to send him some spam.
Urban Legend Zeitgeist: Bill 602P Hoax & Toll Charges for Internet Access: Examples http://tafkac.org/ulz/xemailtax.html
Internet Rumour: Canada Post Sets the Record Straight (September 26, 2005) http://www.canadapost.ca/business/corporate/about/newsroom/pr/default-e.asp?prid=1110
Proposed Email Surcharges – http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/article.cfm?articleid=57131