[EDITORIALS]Cell phones boost credit woesThe number of those branded credit delinquents because of long delays in paying their cell phone bills has reportedly reached 700,000. There are another 3.55 million people whose mobile phone charges are two months overdue, which accounts for 10 percent of all cell phone subscribers in the country. If the situation does not change, we will see a radical increase in the number of credit delinquents sooner or later. Considering that the major users of cell phones, like credit cards, are young people in their 20s and 30s, it is indeed an object of grave public concern if young people experiencing economic difficulties are branded credit delinquents even before they enter society. This also indicates how fragile Korea’s credit managing system is. The government must take measures to cope with problems related to cell phones, which emerged as the principal offender, after credit cards, in producing credit delinquents.
Of course, cell phone users must take primary responsibility for their payment delinquency. But communications companies are not free from criticism since they have sought to attract customers without considering their financial capability, even offering incentives. Recently, more people are becoming credit delinquents after using expensive wireless Internet services on their cell phones, such as streaming, without sufficient knowledge of such services. Households are responsible to some extent as parents had their underage children subscribe to cell phones without proper supervision afterward.
To prevent the mass production of credit delinquents, there must be thorough inspection of potential customers’ economic resources. With regard to subscribers who are minors, their parents’ agreement and limits on cell phone use are necessary. Communications companies must simplify their charges and provide advance notice of additional services, including their pricing. Each household must expand its children’s economic education. Programs to relieve those who are in arrears with a small amount of money must be considered as well, such as splitting up the due dates to lighten the burden.