Cell phone contracts & Foreigners: Sorry, I have to vent


#1

I gotta vent. If this isn’t the appropriate forum, I apologize.

I’ve had a ‘dumb phone’ with a 7-11 sim card since I arrived in Taiwan in 2008. I recently decided to jump into the 21st century and get a smart phone and service. I just went into Far EasTone (遠傳) to attempt that.

First of all, the guy sees a foreigner (who’s speaking Chinese with him, by the way) and so instantly gives me only one option…30 days of prepaid internet for $800nt. When I asked if that’s all they had–don’t they have service contracts?-- (which, of course, I knew they did) he said that’s it. When I asked again, specifically inquiring about different plans and pricing depending on usage, he panicked and got on the phone. In the meantime I got on the phone with my friend who has service with 大哥大. The guy handed me the phone and the English speaking woman on the line told me that yes, they have various plans. I gave my phone to the guy, letting my friend also explain to the guy what I wanted, and then he spoke with the woman. Finally he was convinced that it was OK to provide normal service to a foreigner.

However, once he saw that my ARC expiration date was next month, no deal. I tried to explain as calmly as I could that I’d been living in Taiwan for 5 years, I get a new ARC each year, and showed him that my new one was being processed right now. I showed him my entry and exit dates in my passport. I also threw in that I would be applying for my 永久居留證 at the end of the month.

Nope. Nada.

I mean, what the hell? I’ve been here 5 years on a valid ARC, I’ve added who knows how many hundreds of thousands of NT into the economy, and I was ready to throw thousands more at this place. Are they really thinking, “Gee, today he’s going to pay us $14,000+ as a 16 month deposit for service, but we better not do it because he’s a shifty foreigner and he’ll probably leave Taiwan next month”?! I know, I know, I’ll always be a suspicious outsider in their eyes. Sigh. :unamused:

As I gathered up my stuff and left, I casually remarked to the guy 我想我最好去大哥大 。Probably didn’t do any good, but I’m on my way there. We’ll see…


#2

Weird. I used to have a contract with FarEastone. I just paid a small deposit (which they refunded when I finished the contract) and received a full service plan, no hassle. Not sure how much time was left on my then work permit ARC, but it wasn’t as long as the contract term regardless. I had a one-year ARC, and the contract was for a two-year term. Sometimes it seems it comes down to the person who handles your inquiries. Some know what to do; some are clueless.

Gratuitous Chinese on English forum to show off: 你應該回去再問問看吧!


#3

hmm… maybe it’s just that guy. My labmates (Indian) have year to year ARCs as well, and they have no problem getting a service contracts.


#4

I’ve been a myfone (大哥大) customer for years now, but I wouldn’t recommend them. Their plans seem overpriced, and you’ll get worse reception than you’d get from Chunghwa Telecom. I don’t know if this is feasible for you, but you’d probably get the best deal if you got your home internet, cable (MOD), and cell phone service together in one package. That’s what I’d do if I weren’t leaving in two months.

By the way, if you think setting up a cell phone contract is bad, try applying for a credit card. :smiley:


#5

Thanks guys. As I figured all along, it’s just a matter of whom you talk to and when. I went down the street to Taiwan Mobil and was greeted by smiles and an ‘of course we can do it’ attitude. I’m writing this from my smartphone.

So all is good; I just needed get it out online instead of losing it with an employee who [strike]couldn’t think outside the box[/strike] was just following procedure.


#6

I’ve always had great service from the people at Taiwan Dageda, even though I do sometimes lose reception where Zhonghua people don’t. It’s enough to have kept me on their service so 5 years, so I guess they’re doing something right.


#7

I saw this too late, but im glad you got service with Da Ge Da.

My situation was a little different. Fareastone want to see an ARC good for one year. Mine was 8 days short. There was no talking sense into customer service. So I emailed the head office saying that I was a client of Chunghua (this is my second account) and was willing to show them paperwork showing that I am a good payer and so on.

The next day they called and asked me what store I wanted to buy in and they would call the store to say I was coming. Sometimes you need to state your case to the next level as customer service has very little power to review your case, they only follow the rules to a Tee. But to get exceptions, you really need to back up your case with solid evidence, not just " I want you to do this for me" They want to see that it is likely they will get their money.

My Chunghua account was very easy to get, no deposit, as I was with the company when I was in Taiwan 3 years ago and they had no issues with me then so they allowed me to sign up again with no deposit or cosigner.

And yes, the rules for foreigners are infuriating.

Edit to add, I wanted to get some information from VIBO phone company. They have an english website and help email address. I emailed this address twice and no one ever thought to get back to me both times. The service is horrible. At least the big 3 will call you back.


#8

That is weird. I’ve just renewed my contract and got myself an iphone with Fareastone.
At the beginning the clerks was reluctant about my ARC which was less than a year valid (I have to change it in November), but I told them that in Taiwan I can only get it for a year, so it never will be perfectly 1 year and that it was the case 2 years ago when I’ve signed with them so it is surely no problem. After that they’ve called some people (I’m guessing head office or sth) and yeah, it was fine. I’ve just needed to add Passport copy and I think they even copied my health insurance, just in case.

I’ve chose Fareastone, because 2 years ago when I wanted to sign in for contract, they were the only one that did not require me to drag a Taiwanese friend to sign up for me, and I could just get it done with passport and ARC at hand.


#9

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Chunghua, they were foreign friendly (of course they did the phone thing to, and I brought in a native friend, so that might have worked at my advantage.)


#10

[quote=“Pein_11”][quote=“dan2006”]
My Chunghua account was very easy to get, no deposit, as I was with the company when I was in Taiwan 3 years ago and they had no issues with me then so they allowed me to sign up again with no deposit or cosigner.
[/quote]

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Chunghua, they were foreign friendly (of course they did the phone thing to, and I brought in a native friend, so that might have worked at my advantage.)[/quote]

Must have been the person. I took a local co-worker with me and they still made me give a deposit. That was expected though. Other than that, i’ve had no real issues with Chunghua. Just show them my ARC and it’s all good.


#11

[quote=“nonredneck”][quote=“Pein_11”][quote=“dan2006”]
My Chunghua account was very easy to get, no deposit, as I was with the company when I was in Taiwan 3 years ago and they had no issues with me then so they allowed me to sign up again with no deposit or cosigner.
[/quote]

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Chunghua, they were foreign friendly (of course they did the phone thing to, and I brought in a native friend, so that might have worked at my advantage.)[/quote]

Must have been the person. I took a local co-worker with me and they still made me give a deposit. That was expected though. Other than that, I’ve had no real issues with Chunghua. Just show them my ARC and it’s all good.[/quote]

Originally she asked for a deposit but I said that I had a good history the last time I was here, so what changed. She agreed and did it for me with no deposit, but she did tell me that I better not pull a runner because her boss would give her crap. I think the next foreigner to her desk would: be told to leave a deposit.

Moral of the story is YMMV. Spin the wheel, many prizes available to be won.


#12

I have been here 15 years, have had several cellphones/plans and as you say, it is just the spin of the wheel…

I was very happy to have finished my contract so I can get a new phone now but knowing what I have to go through as a foreigner really takes the wind out of my sails.


#13

Really?? I’ve been told categorically for ten years that the only way I can be on a plan is under my husband’s name. Most recently just a couple of months ago, despite having an APRC. So he gets my phone bills. Which I have to pay him. I’m going to have to check this out again!


#14

I’ve been with Taiwan Mobile (台哥大) for five years and have had to face varying levels of beuracracy. When I wanted to get a second phone number, I remember it was a hassle and I was told I needed to go to a specific store on Keelung Rd. to get it done. It seems that at direct-service (直營店) stores it can be done, but the rest are apparently franchised or something, and they don’t have the authority to open accounts for foreigners. Something like that. But my memory is foggy.


#15

What company do you use?


#16

Eh, only if it is PHS, dear. Their policy, AFAIK, is Japanese nationals or high paid foreign executives sponsored by their companies, otherwise fuggedaboutit. Chungwha and Far East may ask for deposit. Tageta is really expensive.

Otherwise, get a video camera and let’s sue their asses: supposedly, APRC holders have the same rights -except voting- as nationals. The nerve in this day and age! :fume:

EDIT:
oh yes, and you have to go to full service stations, owned by the proper companies. Most outlets -like Senao- cannot even help you pay your bills…


#17

Actually I wasn’t referring to Shennao. What I mean is there are outlets exactly like regular Dageda shops, but they’re still not direct-service 直營店. I think they’re referred to as franchise (加盟) but I’m not sure. Anyway, the only way to be sure is to see if it says zhi-ying-dian up on the sign… Like I said, there’s a very large one right by Liuzhangli MRT, north up on Keelung Rd. I opened an account there with no hassle after having been rejected at other places.


#18

I would like to sue to get some legal protection against foreigner discrimination but wouldnt have the first clue how.

In Japan, someone sued the bank when he couldnt get a mortgage. The bank said that as a non Japanese national, he was expected to bugger back to his own country at some point. The court agreed with the bank risk assessment.


#19

Eh, only if it is PHS, dear. Their policy, AFAIK, is Japanese nationals or high paid foreign executives sponsored by their companies, otherwise fuggedaboutit. Chungwha and Far East may ask for deposit. Tageta is really expensive.

Otherwise, get a video camera and let’s sue their asses: supposedly, APRC holders have the same rights -except voting- as nationals. The nerve in this day and age! :fume:

EDIT:
oh yes, and you have to go to full service stations, owned by the proper companies. Most outlets -like Senao- cannot even help you pay your bills…[/quote]

I got PHS by being a b**** . They caved but I left a $2000Nt deposit. Which i have since cancelled as they no longer offer service in Kaohsiung.

You are right about Fareast and Chunghua deposits, and Da Ge Da also will allow deposits too. The Vibo store offered me prepaid but refused to offer me a plan and customer service does not answer emails so I assume they dont want foreign customers.


#20

I should add: I conducted all of my business with Dageda in Chinese. I think if you do it in English you’re going to run into a lot more roadblocks. In fact, that’s my experience with most companies, organizations, and agencies here.