After trying and failing to get my 80-year-old father-in-law's Singtel TV service to work last month, I called their hotline for help.
I learned from my conversation with the Singtel staff member that Singtel had called my father-in-law in December regarding his Singtel TV contract, and they had agreed a new contract over the phone. My father-in-law was told that he would save money with this new contract.
I ended up needing to write down the details of the new contract as the staff member explained it over the phone, and found that the total amount was $1,739, double what my father-in-law would have had to pay under his previous contract.
When I pointed this out to the Singtel staff member, he told me that my father-in-law would need to call and cancel three additional channels, and exchange his recordable set-top box for a non-recordable set-top box, immediately after six months, in order to enjoy the savings.
Taking those into account, I found that my father-in-law would be able to save about $44.80 with the 2-year contract.
While this can be read as a well-intentioned gesture on Singtel's part to save a customer a mere $1.90 a month, I see it instead as an unethical attempt to take advantage of an elderly customer.
First, I think it unnecessary to offer the three additional channels and recordable set-top box at extra cost without fully understanding the customer's needs.
Second, even a younger customer like me may forget to call back after six months to cancel the three additional channels, let alone an elderly customer like my father-in-law.
And the elderly customer also has to dismantle the recordable set-top box, take it to Singtel to have it exchanged, then bring the new non-recordable box home and set it up. Not many elderly customers can do this on their own.
The authorities should look into the use of such unethical sales tactics over the phone.
Kwek Joo Kwang