Fri, Jul 04, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Children’s discounts do not measure up to new regulations

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Children from low-income families and organizations caring for disadvantaged groups play at the International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival in Yilan yesterday by special invitation ahead of tomorrow’s official opening. The festival closes on Aug. 24.

Photo: CNA

Most all-you-can-eat restaurants and movie theaters still use height rather than age as the standard when offering discounts to children, despite new legislation that prohibits them from doing so, the Consumers’ Foundation said yesterday.

“Of the 18 restaurants we recently inspected, only three have started using age as the primary factor in determining whether a child is eligible for their children’s discount. The result is rather disappointing and suggests that taller children are still being put at a disadvantage,” Consumers’ Foundation lawyer and Consumer Reports publisher David Chen (陳智義) told a press conference yesterday morning.

The restaurants were among the 38 transportation companies and recreational establishments that the foundation examined in May and last month in an effort to evaluate the effects of an amendment to the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act (兒童及少年福利與權益保障法) that took effect on Jan. 22.

The amendment stipulates that government institutions, as well as public and private businesses categorized as public transportation, cultural and educational facilities, scenic attractions or recreational establishments, use age as a standard when offering discounted entry fees to children and that they also offer free admission to children under a certain age.

Aside from restaurants, Chen said five out of six movie theaters it inspected continued to use height as the main standard for discounts to movie tickets for children, with their standards of height ranging from 90cm to 110cm.

“It is worth noting that both the Taipei and Kaohsiung MRT systems offer free admission only to children aged six and under and fail to provide discounted travels for children who are between seven and 11 years old ... which apparently constitutes a violation of the amendment,” Chen said. “Article 2 of the act defines a child as under the age of 12 years.”

A 70-year-old Taipei resident surnamed Chiang (江) said her six-year-old granddaughter has experienced the unfair standard many times.

“My granddaughter is taller than most girls her age and that extra height has been the sole reason she is often asked to pay for her meals, while the rest of her peers have been allowed to enjoy the food for free,” Chiang said.

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