Thu, May 24, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Three telecoms fined for low-cost plan sale chaos

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff erporter

Chunghwa Telecom was fined NT$2 million (US$66,756) yesterday for mismanaging its operations and compromising the quality of customer service when it offered a low-cost service plan earlier this month, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.

Taiwan Mobile and Far Eastone Telecommunications (FET) were also each fined NT$600,000 for the chaos caused by offering NT$499 plans.

NCC spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that all three telecoms offered low-cost service plans during a seven-day sale period that began on May 9.

However, they failed to thoroughly plan for the sale in advance and underestimated the number of sales clerks and customer service representatives needed to handle applications from subscribers.

As such, customers complained that they could not promptly access the customer service hotline and had to endure long waiting times at branches and stores, Wong said.

The NCC ruled that all three telecoms be fined for contravening Article 73 of the Regulations for Administration of Mobile Broadband Businesses (行動寬頻業務管理規則), he said.

The commission also explained in a statement why Chunghwa Telecom received the heaviest punishment.

“Compared with the two other telecoms, the service plan offered by Chunghwa Telecom attracted the most subscribers. The company had the severest shortage in customer service personnel who could attend to the requests from customers and as a result caused customers to wait a long time to apply for new services, which led to rise in consumer disputes. The mishandling of the sale by the company’s management also caused its own sales clerks to work overtime, which consequently lowered customer service quality and affected the services available to the existing subscribers,” the statement said.

The company was on May 11 asked to immediately address the problems, but it failed to introduce any effective measures to improve the situation, the NCC said.

“Society paid a huge cost due to the sale. Ministry of Labor and labor department officials also penalized the company for infringing workers’ rights,” the commission said.

The NCC decided to hand Chunghwa Telecom the heaviest fine so that the company would be more cautious before introducing new mobile service plans, particularly all complementary measures associated with application procedures.

According to briefings from all three telecoms on Thursday last week, Chunghwa Telecom handled about 1.44 million applications during the seven-day sale, Wong said.

Before the sale period began, Chunghwa had estimated it would handle about 800,000 applications, which was two to three times more than the number of subscribers it handled when the low-cost service plan was first offered to civil servants, teachers and military personnel last month.

Taiwan Mobile and FET each handled about 300,000 applications, Wong said.

The briefings showed that 80 percent of applicants for the NT$499 plans were existing subscribers, who wanted to change from plans in which they paid higher monthly fees to the one that apparently cost less, Wong said.

“We will regularly measure the mobile Internet speed to ensure that subscribers who pay NT$499 per month to access the Internet have the same speed as those who pay NT$1,399 a month,” Wong said.

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