Tue, May 15, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Telecom evasive about extending cheap plans

INSENSITIVE?Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers blamed Chunghwa Telecom’s long lines for ruining Mother’s Day for those waiting to subscribe to the low-cost plans

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A Chunghwa Telecom retail outlet is pictured yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Despite being inundated with consumer complaints and operational chaos for almost a week, Chunghwa Telecom yesterday remained noncommittal as to whether the company would continue to offer low-cost service plans that are to end today.

The nation’s largest telecom carrier last week offered new service plans, with one NT$499 option being the most popular as it included unlimited data and 180 minutes of talk time.

However, the telecom came under fire from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers who cited multiple complaints from consumers regarding long wait times to sign up for the services and a lack of concessions to existing service subscribers.

DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said that people lined up outside Chunghwa Telecom offices and other telecoms on Sunday to sign up for the promotional price plans, rather than celebrating Mother’s Day with their families.

Chunghwa Telecom should take most of the blame, as they started the price war, she said.

Yeh also criticized Chunghwa Telecom chairman David Cheng (鄭優) for making insensitive remarks at a news conference on Friday last week, when asked to address complaints about the new service tiers.

Asked what the company would do with subscribers who had just started new contracts before the low-cost plans became available, Cheng used the example of buying clothes from a store and questioned whether a customer could ask for a full refund if the store decided to reduce the price of the clothes by 20 percent two weeks after the customer had made the purchase.

Existing Chunghwa Telecom subscribers should not be asked to pay a fine for terminating old contracts and should be allowed to switch to one of the new plans, Yeh said.

She said the weekend chaos caused by the plan introductions also affected existing subscribers who had no interest in the new plans, as they had difficulty accessing the customer service hotline for other service requests or were also forced to wait in long lines.

DPP Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) blamed the company’s loose management, complete disregard for the interest of existing subscribers and inadequate preparation for the problems.

Lee suggested that the company offer existing subscribers other types of discounts to reward them for their loyalty and make up for any customer service issues.

Chunghwa Telecom should extend the availability of special offers, he added.

The National Communications Commission (NCC) should convene a special meeting to address the issues that emerged from the weekend event, Lee said.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which has a 35 percent stake in Chunghwa Telecom, should promptly convene the company’s board of directors in light of potential errors committed by its management team, he said.

Some of the company’s management should also be held accountable for mishandling sales plans that were supposed to benefit consumers, Lee said.

Because there have been reports saying that Chunghwa Telecom overworks its customer service clerks, Lee said the company should ensure that it does not compromise workers’ rights.

The low-cost plans were available because of Mother’s Day, Chunghwa Telecom vice president in marketing Lin Wen-chiyh (林文智) said.

However, Lin did not say how they plan to mollify their existing subscribers, nor whether the special offers would be available after today.

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