The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday said there have been numerous complaints about high penalty costs for terminating contracts with telecom service providers after customers found that the Internet connection services were unstable.
As demand for Internet surfing outside of the home or office has risen, many telecom service providers have offered package deals for customers, including 3G wireless cards coupled with 3G wireless service, or cellphones coupled with 3G or Wi-Fi Internet accounts.
However, the consumer rights watchdog said that some customers who started using the services found that their Internet connection was unstable or slow, but when they reported complaints to the telecom companies, they would not receive satisfactory answers or resolutions to their problems.
Those who may have signed up for binding contracts, such as two-year mobile service contracts, face high penalty costs for terminating early, the foundation said.
The foundation recently surveyed the nation’s four major telecom service providers — Chung-hwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone and Vibo — to check contract details of their packages offered.
The foundation found that the penalty costs for early termination of a contract ranges from NT$2,670 to as much as NT$9,200, depending on the length of the effective period as stated in the contract and the type of services rendered.
Joann Su (蘇錦霞), chairperson of the foundation, said that the National Communications Commission (NCC) should enforce a standard contract for such telecom mobile services, to set a limit on the maximum penalty that a telecom company may charge.
“Considering how in-demand such mobile services are nowadays, consumers are exposed to inadequate protection in the case of consumer disputes if the NCC does not step in to manage the market,” Su said.
The foundation also reminded those shopping for a good telecom service package deal to read contract details carefully and to take note of the penalties involved before making a decision.