The ETC service contract ignores the rights of vehicle owners and there is no effective channel for complaints, not to mention that the government is shirking its responsibility to protect non-eTag users when their rights are violated. As the government insists that it must not intervene in the contractual disputes between FETC and consumers, it appears as if the government is cooperating with the company to block consumer complaints.
Perhaps the company is trying to force drivers to accept the situation by filing lawsuits at the Taipei District Court against them once overdue payments exceed the threshold for “small claims proceedings,” as stipulated in Article 23 of the contract.
Some non-eTag users have to pay a service charge of NT$5 for a NT$4 bill, which shows that the government is discriminating against non-eTag users by inappropriately luring them to install eTags in violation of the principle of equality.
By passing the buck like this, the government has proven that its information policy is not only brainless, but also heartless as it becomes the butt of information-policy jokes. The only thing that cannot be predicted is what the next joke created by this opaque government-business cooperation will be.
Liu Ching-yi is a professor in the Graduate Institute of National Development at National Taiwan University.
Translated by Eddy Chang