How do you feel about needing a guarantor for Chunghwa Telecom?
- Doesn’t bother me, it’s their company, they can do what they want
- It’s inconvenient but I don’t have a special problem with it
- It offends me because it’s based only on national origin/non-Chinese-ness
Lots of people have previously written in asking about the necessity of having a guarantor to obtain telecommunications services from our friendly ex-monopolistic Chunghwa Telecom. I usually answer that a guarantor is not, in fact, necessary, as that has been my experience in the past.
However, this time (a couple of days ago) I went into the “Eastern Office” on Ren’ai Rd. and requested ADSL service for my new place in Sanchong. Well, out came the guarantor form. I said politely that I have been a Chunghwa customer since 1993 and have never needed a guarantor before. The clerk insisted. I asked to go higher up the food chain. Three people later, they were still insisting on a Chinese guarantor, and saying that I could not take advantage of the special unless I had one. I could get service if I wanted to pay a sizable deposit up front (they said NT$2000, but their own form said NT$1500, which further irritated me; do you people think I can’t read, even if you can’t?)
I asked them when this “policy” had come out, and they said it was “recent”, in reaction to “events”. “You know, like after 911 in your country”, she said. (After I informed her that I saw virtually no parallel to the risk of Chunghwa getting stuck with a couple thousand NT$ worh of ADSL charges and thousands of people getting killed in a major terrorist attack, she said nothing).
I asked on what basis this policy had been imposed. She continued to claim that it had NOTHING to do with nationality (!) or race or anything else, just that “a few foreigners” have failed to pay, so now all foreigners require a guarantor. I asked if it were not the case that a few Taiwanese likewise had failed to pay, and she said, “Of course.” However, my suggestion that a guarantor be required for all accounts did not seem to please her.
I asked how she would feel if I ran a store and I refused to sell to her because “women never pay their bills” and she was a woman. She said nothing. Likewise, the concept of international reciprocity did nothing to move them.
Another interesting point was when I pointed to my cell phone (also Chunghwa Telecom, but that won’t last any longer than it takes me to switch!!) and asked if she would like a guarantor for that, too, as I was apparently now a risk, although I wasn’t a risk six months ago when I last applied for service through Chunghwa. What if I called Zimbabwe for seven or eight hours the day before leaving Taiwan, I asked? “No, you already have that,” she said. She didn’t seem to see any logical problem with the whole thing.
But the crowning point was that she insisted: “Foreigners don’t mind getting a guarantor!”
Is this so? I’d like to know how people feel about having to find a Chinese person to sign for them to get access to a public utility.