Telecom services have emerged over the past seven years as the No. 1 source of consumer grievances, statistics released yesterday by the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee showed.
The committee compiled consumer complaints received from 2012 to last year and found that 18,089 cases involved grievances over telecom services, outstripping other consumer gripes.
Second on the list were complaints involving online video game purchases (16,635 cases) and cram school courses (16,452 cases), the committee said.
Most telecom complaints were about poor signal strength or an electronic payment function having been activated without authorization, the committee said, adding that a telecom subscriber received a bill of about NT$20,000 from Google Play, even though she had never authorized payments through the app.
The consumer accused her telecom of activating the function without telling her and claimed that her children used the unauthorized function to make purchases on Google Play, the committee said.
When she asked for a refund, the telecom told her to contact the app directly to cancel the account, but the contact information was not on the app’s download page, it added.
People should be able to access user agreements and save customer service information before making any purchase within an app, the committee said.
If people do not wish to make purchases, such as buying stickers on the Line messaging app, they should not select the option to pay for stickers on their telecom service bill and should choose the setting to always enter a password or authentication code before making a purchase, it added.
Before people allow children to use their mobile phone, they should deactivate the electronic payment function and remove credit card information used for phone purchases, the committee said.
Most complaints about online video games involved accounts being hacked, players losing the right to play and “loot box” rules being unintelligible, the committee said.
Disputes over cram school courses resulted from people having too little time to review the contract or from owners closing the school without notice, it said, adding that there were cases of cram school operators having used customers’ personal data to apply for loans.
Grievances from buying vehicles, properties, insurance policies and financial products frequently involve high monetary compensation, the committee said.
Vehicle complaints typically involved irreparable defects or major car recalls, it added.
The statistics showed that complaints about fitness gyms are generally on the rise: 571 cases in 2012, 1,434 in 2016, only 1,080 in 2017, but 1,433 last year.
They showed that the increase of low-cost carriers and strikes by China Airline employees over the past few years sparked a rise in complaints about airline services, from 471 cases in 2012 to 1,418 in 2017.
Although the number dropped to 1,263 cases last year, the committee said that it is likely to rebound this year because of strikes by employees at China Airlines and EVA Airways.
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