Thu, Aug 05, 2010 - Page 2 News List

DOH standardizes contracts for post-natal care centers

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Department of Health and the Consumer Protection Commission yesterday unveiled standard contracts for post-natal care centers, placing a cap on the penalties businesses can charge customers who terminate their contracts.

Post-natal care centers are popular in Taiwan, where mothers traditionally spend a whole month resting and following a special diet after giving birth. Many businesses offer package deals where mothers can stay at suites that are equipped with special facilities catering to them and their infants and serve meals with the nutritional elements women need after giving birth.

Such services can cost tens of thousands of NT dollars and many disputes have arisen over penalties charged to customers who prematurely terminate their contracts or change their minds after staying a few days at a center.

Commission legal division director Chiu Hui-mei (邱惠美) said the commission hoped that once standard contracts take effect later this month, disputes over unfair terms and conditions would decline.

The standard contracts include clauses that prohibit the centers charging more than 10 percent of the fee if the customer cancels a reservation 31 days prior to the scheduled start of her stay. The earlier customers choose to terminate their contract, the smaller the penalty charged, Chiu said.

The contract also includes a clause that bars businesses from charging customers more than 10 percent for deposits or payments to secure a reservation.

Post-natal centers that charge customers more than allowed by the standard contract will face fines of between NT$60,000 (US1,900) and NT$1.5 million. Centers that refuse inspections by the authorities will face fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$300,000.

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