Case goes after telcos: is there "moral duty" involved, really?

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) shoulgoing after the mobile content companies individually! Why should telcos be answerable? And what has "moral duty" got to do to anything in any of business transactions?!

THE Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) is going after companies that are foisting unsolicited services upon mobile phone users, as complaints go up.

Case said on Monday it will hold talks with the three major telcommunications providers here - Singtel, Starhub and M1 - to pursue this issue.

More consumers have approached Case complaining they have been signed up for phone services without their consent.

Others who did sign up complained they were misled into thinking the services were free, only to find out that they only got a free trial and had to pay subsequently.

These services run the gamut, from ringtone and wallpaper downloads, to football and entertainment news alerts.

There are more than 20 companies that provide such services now. Mobile phone users pay for them through their telcos, who act as billing agents.

The problem appears to be particularly acute among youths, said Case president Yeo Guat Kwang. 'Many of these services are popular with teenagers, who often do not know what they are getting into and how much they will have to pay,' said Mr Yeo.

This is despite recently-introduced regulations in the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act in April last year, stating that unless the consumer expressly agrees to pay for the opt-out service, the provider cannot charge the consumer. If the service has a free trial, the customer must also be informed in advance about the end of the free trial period.

Instead of going after the mobile content companies individually, Case is asking the telcos to take action instead, as it is 'their moral duty to their customers' said Mr Yeo, who hopes Case can pressure these companies to get their act together.

From Straits Times, "Case goes after telcos".


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