Testing customers’ patience

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Testing customers’ patience


Personal information of the members of the online shopping mall Interpark has been leaked. As a user, I called to ask whether my information has also been leaked. Following the official apology, “Please direct your inquiries to the customer service center,” I called the customer service.

“We are experiencing high call volume, and our representatives cannot take your call. Please try again later.”

Just as the automated message directed, I tried again a while later, only to get the voice mail again. On my seventh try, the message stated that I would be directed to the available representative according to the order of the calls received, and I was the 19th in the queue. Five minutes later, I finally heard a human voice, not recording.

After information of 10.3 million users was leaked, it was incredibly hard to contact Interpark’s customer service center. Interpark extended their service hours by two hours, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Still, it was not easy to be connected. But Interpark has no plan to add more representatives at the customer center. Users just have to try again and again for now.

The laid-back response of Interpark makes the users more anxious. The apology essentially reduced the scope of the incident, as it stated that information was hacked “partially.” When information of more than 10 million people, 40 percent of the total users, was leaked, Interpark described it as “partial,” and their customers are furious.

And the apology could only be seen on its website. Active and inactive members did not get a single text message.

A more serious problem is the belated reaction. Interpark did not realize that it had been hacked for nearly two months, and even after it became aware, the customers were informed two weeks later.

Its management of the network was lax to begin with. The intranet and the external internet needed to be separated and maintained in order to protect data from malware. But Interpark employees were able to use both internet and intranet from the same computer.

Moreover, on July 20, the company posted a notice on changes to the existing terms and conditions on its website. It transferred the responsibility to the individual users when information is leaked. While Interpark claimed that the terms were changed to introduce social media login service, the move was harshly criticized, and the company postponed the related services and changes to the terms and conditions.

Interpark is celebrating 20 years in business this year. The company’s 20th anniversary has become the worst nightmare ever. But the victims are the users who got their personal information stolen. Rather than upsetting the customers by reducing the scope of the damage or changing the terms and conditions, Interpark must assure them that it will take actions to prevent such incidents from happening again. That’s what Interpark needs to do now.

JoongAng Ilbo, July 28, Page 33

*The author is an industrial news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.


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