New World Development

Not separate companies

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 April, 1997, 12:00am

In answer to my earlier letter about the different rates charged to Hongkong Telecom CSL and One2Free customers, CSL replied, through these columns, on April 7, saying that in response to my complaint, it had 'provided recommendations that will best serve [my] needs'. Substitute 'its' needs and I would agree.

The truth is that CSL maintains that CSL and One2Free are 'independent' (its word) companies and on this basis it justifies charging CSL customers higher rates than One2Free customers. However, a $2 company search gives the lie to this explanation; One2Free is a subsidiary of CSL, with the same registered office and common directors. That is not my definition of independent. CSL insists that to switch to One2Free and save $600 a month I must change my telephone numbers, because it says CSL and One2Free are separate companies. Even CSL staff I have spoken to acknowledge that this is absurd. At the same time it has tried to 'sweeten the pill', offering me various special packages reserved it says for VIPs; something I am not.

CSL's policy appears to be to hope the silent majority of 1010 customers remain unaware that they are being overcharged and continues to rake in the cash from them. This will only work in the short term; I suggest the company thinks again.