Telecoms not paying back subscribers, Rep. Jun says

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Telecoms not paying back subscribers, Rep. Jun says

Major telecom companies have withheld subscribers’ overpayments and deposits worth 109.4 billion won ($92.5 million), Rep. Jun Byung-hun of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy revealed on Thursday based on a report by the Korea Communications Commission.

Three major telecommunications providers - SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ - didn’t return the money to customers in both cellular and fixed-line services.

Of the 109.4 billion won recorded since 2007, 26.9 billion won came from the telecoms’ landline businesses. KT had 17.5 billion won unpaid while SK Broadband, the subsidiary of SK Telecom, has withheld 5.9 billion won. LG U+ owes 3.5 billion won.

The majority of pending payments, 82.5 billion won, came from the cellular sector. SK Telecom had the highest from its mobile business division at 51.8 billion won, followed by LG U+ with 18.2 billion won and KT with 12.5 billion won.

Jun, who sits on the Science, ICT, Future Planning, Broadcasting and Communications Committee at the National Assembly, said any subscriber can check if they are owed money at www.smartchoice.or.kr.

Despite the existence of the site, Jun noted that only 2.1 percent of the funds owed, or 2.3 billion won, made it back to customers.

“Telecom companies should have tried to give back the overpayments,” Jun said in a statement. “The fact that telecom companies didn’t try to pay back customers is akin to breaching principles and corporate
responsibilities.”

He also criticized the Korea Communications Commission, the state-run regulator, for overlooking the case.

“The Korea Communications Commission is also negligent on its duty because it just let the pending payments pile up to over 100 billion won,” he said. “They must encourage cellphone users more proactively to get back their money.”


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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