internet access condition in Coffee Bean Outlet

Does this consider a fair trade practice?

On 11 October 2009, I landed myself in the Coffee Bean branch in MidValley. As I have to wait for my spouse to end a long session with whatever women spend on their face or hair or whatever else, I decided to spend some time on the internet in the Coffee Bean there.

I have surfed the internet in this branch before without any trouble. However, this time, when I connected my notebook onto the wireless facility there, a new service provider introduced itself. When I enquired the manager on duty, he informed me that Coffee Bean has just changed their wireless service provider “last week”.

Narration: service provider MASMO, Partner Bank: EON BANK GROUP

Narration: information required include name, IC Number, password, email address, phone number, type of phone, race, age group, marital status, income (split into Below RM999, RM999-RM3000 and above RM3,000)*, area of profession, citizenship, area of interest)
* anyone earning below RM999 and frequents Coffee Bean may have personal financial management issues and what products do EON Bank wish to market to them?

I am peeved for the following reasons:

1. We are forced to divulged private and confidential information in order to get onto the internet such as IC number, mobile phone number, income, age etc. High risk considering the capability of fraudsters nowadays and we have no idea how secured is our private and confidential information.

2. Coffee Bean did not inform its customers that there are new conditions for internet access, i.e. need to divulge personal and confidential information before being allowed to access into its internet services. This would mislead customers who might have changed their mind about paying for a cup of overpriced coffee so that he or she can justify the price tag with internet access without condition

3. The service provider MASMO, is linked with EON Bank. When you disclose the above information, it is quite possible you could be bombarded with various annoying marketing messages via spam mails and SMSs. This can be sheer nuisance and rude interruption as on numerous occasions when I am in a meeting or work discussion, I hear my handphone signaling an incoming SMS message only to discover that it is an irrelevant and useless advertisement.

Old Town Coffee which I frequent regularly provides internet access without condition. Even Steven’s corner in Jalan Genting Kelang also has condition-free internet! Plug in, connect wireless and off you go without fuss whatsoever.

Not only Coffee Bean has changed a material part of their operations, they also failed to inform its customer about the change. Previously Coffee Bean customers can access internet without this registration process and this would have caught most of them off guard. At the very least, they should put a visible signage disclosing the internet access condition.

I stand to be corrected here. Under the law of contract, there is the principle of implied terms. Implied terms mean although it is not specifically stated in writing, past conducts of the contractual parties in previous transactions can constitute the terms of a new contract for a subsequent, similar trade.

Hence if a customer has previously been paying the same price for a cup of coffee and get to use the internet access without hassle, does the sudden change by Coffee Bean here actually varied the terms and condition?
Yet Coffee Bean still accepts payment from the customer who thought the previous terms and conditions are still being offered by Coffee Bean. Coffee Bean did not bother to inform customers that they have changed the rule of the game. Talk about treating returning customers well.

The MCMC and Kementerian Hal Ehwal Pengguna should look into this “special privilege” accorded to themselves by Coffee Bank together with MASMO and EON Bank. I wonder who are the people behind this operation.
As consumers in a developing country, we should recognise our rights and not to be bullied by businesses.


  1. Thanks for informing, WT. Looks like there's nothing looking forward to in Coffee Bean except having our personal particulars harvested.

  2. Thanks valuable information and I for one, would know where to avoid in the future.

  3. I will demand my money back and return the coffee!! That's the only way to act and get the message through. Disclosure by Coffee Bean is a must and if customers unknowingly got tricked into a purchase with the intention of using their wi-fi, then they are not been upfront and then the contract is faulty!!

  4. Franco, u r rite but I did the next best thing since I got no where to go.

    I drafted the above piece while waiting for my spouse.


  5. replies via Facebooks pasted here

    AY October 11 at 10:11pm Reply

    Wee Tak, free internet access in Singapor also practices the same, ic no. email add and phone number are norm. But I'm quite suprise they ask you to disclose your annual salary. On the other hand its really not suprising when comes to a service provider sponsored or part owned by another big corporation like Eon. They are indirectly getting free information on the demographics by giving a service to you.

    Ok this is what i learn, nothing is free. It is not the advertisement which Eon wants to spam your email although its part of the package, it not the main intention, its the demographic research details they are looking for. For instance, Ed, the creator of the great application for facebook called "living social" is providing free application for his own benifit. Living Social is earning as much as Google in selling datas of its users. Well what kinda data Ed can get from living social? just like a any global market research/survey company where they pays ppl to get datas from their survey. wherelse living social get free information. Living social will sell datas like what is teh most talk about stuff ppl in this region, what kinda product or movies they are using/watching, what are their cravings. so on and so forth. this gazillion datas will be sold to any big corporation with cheap price as compared to a global market research company whcih paid for their datas but yet limited.

    So I guess Eon is doing the same thing. Moral of teh story is nothing is free.

    AL October 11 at 10:27pm Reply

    Learning from comments from AY, I think its normal for organization to do that. It just like membership or discount cards by Jusco or Hypermart asking for details to gauge the market segments and the trend of purchase. We can always put 1 million Rupiah, no problem. I think that's a positive effort.
    Sent via Facebook Mobile

    Lee Wee Tak October 12 at 9:27am
    guys, fair point but....if CB has been giving interenet access on 1 kind of understanding, if they change the rules of the game, shouldn't they tell the customers first?

    my point is they should have let customer know of the change before quietly implementing it. I think that is fair

    for J cards, we are applying for a membership card. fine. we aleready expect they want this kinda info as we walk up to the counter. they want to know our earnings to do market research and we have a choice of giving the details otherwise we can just walk away without loss

    but for CB, you got to the counter, paid for the coffee, only then realise that you have to give P & C information and you can't walk away w/o loss

    Lee Wee Tak October 12 at 9:29am
    the other point is that we are being pressed to disclose information and bearing risk of P & C information being shared by merchants without our knowledge and consent. who knows if they have any unscrupulous employees?

  6. MT October 11 at 10:03pm Reply

    Is very dangerous we expose our personal details like that! Don't go there again, go starbucks, Old town or 1Station lah!

    HCT October 11 at 10:10pm Reply

    go oldtown lor
    Sent via Facebook Mobile

    RL October 11 at 10:15pm Reply

    Anywhere except kopi been

    LCKL October 11 at 10:16pm Reply
    pappa rich also not bad...

  7. RL

    Start getting people to boycott coffee bean and when it hits them they will go back to the old system. It may be the government who wants to introduce it this way in order for them to identify and trace those who are posting comment or writing against them. Starbuck may be next and also cyber cafe. Hope I am wrong.

    Yesterday at 5:48pm

  8. Old Town at Jln Ipoh also practising the same now!!

  9. oh shit, KY!

    thanks for the tip!

  10. Hi all,
    i am from the provider that provide the wireless services in those outlet,
    we are taking down some of the demographic information requirement as it was an ealier campaign.

    However for IC no and other information are required to protect both outlet, service provide and general public. Under MCMC , we are require to keep track of user who surf the internet loging time. imagine some free user hacked your account from those outlet if maintain anonymous we are not able to keep track. its like the prepaid in the early days where every no ic is required and rampant in fraud.

    however thanks for the feedback

  11. WT

    Have u try Penang Free Wifi ?

  12. Hey Starbucks and Old Town all also ask the same thing wan. I know bcos i go all these places to get my work done, no office ma. but so far nothing bad la. actually if they send me sms for some discount offer i dont mind. why not?

  13. Anom,#1

    no, I have not tried that one. how is it?


    I dun mind marketing advertisement but what pisses me off is they changed the deal without proper notice and by coercing customers then to divulge P & C info. No option given.
    - are u really representing the organization? You are speaking in an official capacity but you leave no designation.

    - secondly, "we are taking down some of the demographic information requirement as it was an ealier campaign" is too vague an eplanation. It tells us nothing while you want us to disclose very personal and specific information

    - thirdly,

    "IC no and other information are required to protect both outlet, service provide and general public."
    - we surf net everywhere else for free like Changi Airport, KLIA, Steven's Corner, various internet cafe without the need to disclose our IC no.
    - by the way, how safe is our P & C info with you? any risk of your staff misusing the info? while I understand all form of database once given is subject to risk, one would prefer to limit such disclosure, especially to non-statutory and non-financial institution like yours

    "Under MCMC , we are require to keep track of user who surf the internet loging time."

    - if you have that regulations, please quote the guidelines and specific sections so I can confirm with MCMC; otherwise it does not read convincingly.

    "imagine some free user hacked your account from those outlet if maintain anonymous we are not able to keep track."

    - if they want to hack, they hack anywhere. I prefer to keep my info P & C; not to give away more to people like your organisation who we know nothing about

    thanks for the kind explanation but it does not convince me very much

  14. WT

    Once you use Penang free wifi. Most likely you will write to CM of Penang. They asked the same.

  15. I agreed with WT can hack anywhere. If we can prevent from hacking is better right.

  16. I've given up on coffee and started on the benefits of tea drinking.

  17. Tea drinking is good.

  18. resident. I am a more of a tea drinker than a cofee addict though I welcome both

    since that day, I station myself in OldTown, not coffee bean anymore

    anom 1143, if I do have that problem, I will do so but I am not base in Penang and has not been there for almost a decade!

    if you do find it a hassle, write in or share it in the papers. I am sure a little pressure would bring about some changes

  19. Wee tak

    if you dont have any good comments
    stop complaining and use streamyx only at home
    dont go out and lock urself in. You can be an
    endangered species.. Im enjoying my free wifi
    now and slurping my vanilla ice blended at coffee bean
    .. Yummy.. Thanks cb for free wifi

  20. Anon,

    This article aims to point out the caveat emptor rule at coffee joints with internet facilities.

    Chill out with the ice blended!

  21. reminded me of my grandpa who is so afraid to use any ATM or credit card or even petrol card just bcos they needed his details. Perhaps WT is similarly paranoid. Why cant u just skip whatever u dont wish to disclose? Tried Wireless@KL in Bkt bintang? they ask lagi more info and their wifi sucks.

  22. Agreed. he is exactly like your grandpa thinking. I don't think he is using any mobile phone too, either prepaid or postpaid becasue we need to disclose P&C information. If yes, please cancel it immediate. If you don't want to disclose information, just leave it blank. Or go tobuy 3G modem and public free Wifi is not for you.

  23. the last 3 anoms....

    you are just cybertroopers who got nothing to do but to trample on the citizens' right to exercise their objection to unfair trade practices.

    you are unable to use convincing reason except to deride, insult and insults. it is a typical cybertrooper's trait who lacks the intellectual capacity to debate properly

    this blog have received some cybertroopers' attention in the past and their stupidity will linger for the rest to read and form their own opinion

    just to illustrate, I do have a handphone and in fact I have more than 1.

    I worry for the political divide that hires cybertroopers. they can't even insult properly

    I am now working in a developed country and gosh, do I miss these intellectual inepts or not?

    Wee Tak

  24. the owner of the blog might be grateful for these inepts if the revenue stream is base on number of clicks

    hey, commission please?


    Wee Tak

  25. Wee Tak

    I should not convince you because you live in a growing country but your thought is like 20 years ago. Is hard to convince a person where their thinking back in 20 years ago. Challenging.

    Please go cancel you handphone since you talk so great here. Did you read the terms and conditons when you sign up for mobile ? Did you give your personel data or not ? Are you from DAP ? Is fair to writr a blog on that right.

    Do you feel shame to ask for commission. If you don;t enjoy free wifi please shut up.

  26. I am in Coffee Bean. Filling in false info to register for free wifi.