Set rules on telcos' third-party services

My 16-year-old child recently purchased some $300 worth of cellphone game credits provided by SingTel's third-party service providers, without my consent or knowledge.

This was despite my previous request that SingTel bar him from such purchases.

Upon investigation, SingTel told me that my child had lifted the ban himself by calling a four-digit number.

When I requested the ban, SingTel conducted stringent checks to make sure I was my child's guarantor before acceding to my request. Yet my child had to follow only three simple steps to get the ban lifted.

This is a major loophole that needs to be plugged.

SingTel says it has no control over its third-party service providers, and that guarantors have to take full responsibility for their children's accounts.

But how is this possible when the guarantor has no control over the child's purchases?

Almost every youngster has a cellphone these days. However, there is no limit on how much a child can spend on third-party services, data or calls.

This is inconceivable. Even banks have credit limits for income-earning adults.

There are laws and checks in place for the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol. A similar approach should be adopted for addictive gaming services.

There is a need for regulations and guidelines to govern the telcos and their third-party service providers, to protect our children's interest.

Ivy Sim (Mrs), Reader

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