The Consumer Council is investigating a decision by mobile-phone service provider SmarTone to charge customers $10 if they want bills posted to them. A SmarTone spokeswoman yesterday said the firm had introduced an 'e-bill' system, using text messages and e-mails, because of customer demand for electronic services and to help the environment by saving paper. However, the company still provides a free service for consumers who want bills sent to them by fax. Consumer Council spokesman Kenneth So Wai-sang said the matter would be investigated to decide if the $10 charge was reasonable. 'We will look at whether it will create difficulties for some customers and whether this is a move for more profit,' Mr So said. 'I guess they are doing this to cut costs which a lot of companies are doing and any consumer who has particular reasons for being unhappy can complain to us.' The SmarTone spokeswoman said the majority of customers supported the move. 'It provides a more timely method for paying their bills, is more private and shows our support for the environment,' she said. 'There are many other options to obtain the bill - if they insist on a postal bill we are happy to oblige, but they will have to pay an administration charge of $10.' The new system was introduced on June 17. The Office of the Telecommunications Authority did not respond to questions. Hutchison, Peoples and New T&T officials said they would examine market demand but none had immediate plans to scrap paper invoices.