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.