Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not connected but Starhub charges Irene

Irene Hoe, who has had problems with Starhub over prepaid cards, is complaining again.

On holiday in the US right now, she emailed me her note to the telco:

"Starhub, This truly sucks. I cannot call it a service. If you look up my current usage, you will find that there were several attempts to call that despite never being connected were nevertheless charged against my prepaid account (8116 0122).

"I am in the USA now and finally I appreciate what a service you rendered me on previous visits when I was unable to make a call using my prepaid SIM."

When can we get consistently good service from our telcos?????

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Botanic Gardens cat saved after plea by Anne and her walking pals

Three walking pals -- Anne Wong Holloway, Linda Shaw and Shirley -- were most upset and worked up last Thursday morning to find a cage baited with a chicken leg in the Botanic Gardens. Beside the cage was a sign that advised anyone seeing a cat in it not to release it but to telephone a pest control company.

Anne told me that her friends called the pest control company who told them that they had been engaged to trap the cat and hand it over to the SPCA.

NParks whom they also contacted said that someone had complained about the presence of the cat. The person they spoke to suggested that they wrote in on behalf of the cat, and they did.

Linda told NParks that the car "has been a resident and a favorite mascot of regular visitors to Botanic Gardens."

She questioned the need to remove the cat which "is harmless and adds to the character of the Gardens."

Apparently, there had been a complaint that feeding the cat would attract other strays and that plastic bags of food left by well-meaning people was unsightly.

Linda said: "This cat has been here for many years and we have yet to see any other strays coming in to that particular area -- the services entrance of the Orchid Pavilion --- because of the food. Besides, the cat appears to have been neutered. As for litter from leftover food, that can be taken care of in your routine maintenance, as with all other human litter.

"Surely this Garden does not merely exist for a few animal-phobic human beings whom I am sure are a minority.

"I urge you to call off your pest control people and get them to remove the trap. I also hope you won't resort to poisoning either."

Anne's email to NParks argued: "My friends and I have seen human visitors to the Gardens --- some of whom are less fastidious than this cat. They hawk and spit or leave litter.

"Since your maintenance crew have to pick up after human visitors, surely a small container left over from feeding the cat should not present a major problem.

"I can understand trying to trap and get rid of it if the cat were a monkey because some of them can be aggressive and do terrorise adults and children alike --- as a child growing up in Singapore I was terrified by the monkeys that used to roam freely in the Botanic Gardens. But this is a harmless domestic animal."

NParks obviously was swayed by the women's explanations and arguments. It wrote back promptly to inform them that the trap had been removed.

The next time you see a white cat with ginger patches in the Botanic Gardens, remember that it is still there because of Anne and her walking pals. Bouquets to these three women.

And also to NParks and Botanic Gardens for acceding to their plea.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Irene misses SQ flight but she's happy

Frequent flyer Irene Hoe has taken off again --- this time to the US. But the trip did not start off
smoothly. In fact, she missed her flight because of a mistake in her ESTA application. And she had to check into an airport hotel to wait for another flight.

However, it was not all frustration for her even though she was delayed. She was thoroughly impressed with the Singapore Airlines ground staff who helped her and she promptly wrote to SQ to tell them about it.

Here's her letter:

"Dear SQ,

I used to say that you were my favourite airline in the air but never on the ground.

I'd like to amend that in view of my experience at Terminal 3 when I tried to check in for SQ 62 early on Tuesday morning. I didn't manage it but I was very favourably impressed by the efforts your staff made to accommodate my needs.

The problem began when I trusted an unfamiliar employee of the travel agency I use to register me for ESTA with my new passport number. He apparently just checked the date when the agency had last made an ESTA application on my behalf, then assured me all was in order.

All was not in order.

So when your staff tried to check me in, they couldn't, as the ESTA system didn't recognize the new passport number.

They assessed the situation quickly and called the gate to alert them while they helped me to use a PC to register for ESTA, read out my new (and unfamiliar) passport number to me as I went through the process, supplied paper and pen so I could write down my registration receipt number, and in lieu of printing out the receipt for verification suggested that I use my cellphone to take a picture of it.

Lily helped me to stay calm while the application page kept bouncing back with error messages. Then I had a minor brainwave and removed the # sign from my address. This time, my application was finally accepted.

But by then it had really got very late. Lily apologized and said they were sorry but they couldn't hold the gate open for me any longer. She told me the next flight out to the USA was to LAX via NRT and wrote down the reservations telephone number for me.

I decided to stay at the Crowne Plaza for what was left of the night while I worked to reset my itinerary. Dinesh piled my bags back on the baggage cart and walked me across to the hotel's reception desk. I had told him I could make it there on my own but he insisted on helping me, for which I am most grateful.

What impressed me throughout the whole episode, was that never once did Lily, Dinesh and another lady whose name I didn't catch make me feel that it was my fault (and it was!) or that I was inconveniencing them (I was).

Thank you for restoring my faith in SQ.

Irene Hoe

(And there's Part 2 to come concerning your call centre) "

Bouquet to the SIA ground staff who showed so much understanding and went out of their way to help Irene.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

SIA apologises to Quak for 'only pork' meal

Singapore Airlines has apologised to Quak Hiang Whai for the disappointing meal he had on board SQ 802 on 15 November 2010 from Singapore to Beijing.

In an email to Quak, its customer affairs manager Dzuraimi Mohamad Taib said: "I would like to apologise for the disappointment caused to you on this occasion. I understand that the chicken meal had run out and there was only the pork meal as an alternative. We uplift our meal types based on past consumption figures as a means to reduce wastage of food onboard our flights.

"Evidently though, the figures need to be revised from your experience. I would like to reassure you that I have conveyed this to our Food and Beverage Manager to review the uplift figures.

"I note that you were expecting our crew to surprise you with some initiative. Certainly, they could have tried doing this versus just providing you the starters.

"As you mentioned, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and our crew should have been more sensitive to your needs. We apologise for the lack of proactiveness on the part of our crew. The crew will be spoken to on the importance of looking after our passengers’ needs to the best of their abilities.

"I realise that I am unable to reverse your experience, but as a gesture of goodwill, I would like to arrange for 3000 miles to be credited into your KrisFlyer account. This is just above the number of miles which you would have accrued for your flight. These miles can be used towards future upgrade and award redemption bookings...

"Mr Quak, thank you for this opportunity to follow-up on your concerns. We hope to be of better service to you for our future flights.''

I am glad that SIA has made the effort to address its passenger's disappointment. For the record, Quak did not make the statement that "Stewardess probably didn't know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach". I did.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Second time unlucky for Shionge

Shionge was so happy this morning when she found out that the promoter of Korean boyband Super Junior was releasing another 200 tickets for the "sold-out" January 29 show.

She activated many friends and family members to help her book tickets online, only to be disappointed again because the computer was completely jammed.

She said her friend had queued at the Vivocity Sistic outlet but also could not get any tickets even though she was fourth in the queue.

Sistic has responded to my feedback about not setting aside a portion of the tickets for public sale. It said that it was out of its control as the decision was made by the promoter, Running Into The Sun, a subsidiary of Fly Entertainment.

Tickets were snapped up a few hours after they were put out for sale on Saturday (Nov 20). Apparently, all of them were taken up by priority bookings, leaving nothing for the public sale which was scheduled to start on Nov. 23.

An upset Shionge said: "Actually I am just a supportive Mom trying to buy tickets for my two teenage daughters and I knew their anguish. Only good thing was that they did not queue overnight like what some teenagers did over at the Hereen on Friday."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Super Junior, but sad Shionge

Shionge was looking forward to buying tickets for her two teenage daughter to watch the Korean boyband Super Junior when news of their show was announced. But because of priority bookings, every ticket was snapped up and nothing was left for the public.

She emailed me: "I am very upset to find out that although priority booking for Super Junior was meant for OCBC Credit Card & Singtel customers, all tickets were released from 20 Nov to 22 Nov.

"The publicity poster stated that ticket sale for the public would commence on 23 Nov onwards.

"As I was not able to log on to book on Saturday, I had to wait till 23 Nov (Tues). Meantime, I emailed Sistic just to check how many tickets were available online and via Sistic counter.

"To my surprise, Sistic customer service officer Donna told me all tickets were sold out on the first day during priority booking. I am very upset because if this was so, then they should have informed the public, otherwise all the poor fans and teenagers would be camping overnight at Sistic outlets just to get their hands on the tickets.

"She told me she would feedback to the Management but I felt that the system is totally wrong. If there is priority booking for credit card holders then some tickets should be reserved for public sale. Imagine if I did not find out this morning, I would have been one of the fan queuing up overnight.

"With 5000 tickets for sale, how is it possible that within minutes all tickets are gone? I am really upset and now ebay is selling them like ‘hot cakes’….. Grrrrrrr….

"Anyway, just my thoughts, Sistic should have allocated tickets fairly and not released all on the first day."

Shionge made a valid point. Sistic should have kept a portion of the tickets for those people who either do not have a OCBC credit card or a Singtel account.

And if indeed all the tickets were sold out before November 23, when public sale was scheduled to begin, then it was the ticket-seller's duty to inform them instead of keeping them in the dark.

Another case of an organisation taking its loyal customers for granted?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Anne's frustrations with HSBC

Anne Holloway is exasperated with HSBC. After her frustrating attempts to apply for a credit card, she has this to say:

"Nothing gets my goat more than incompetence and lousy customer service and thus far, in my 61 years of life, the most outstanding example has been HSBC (the global local bank) in the past week.

"No, I did not want a loan or credit. I just wanted to apply for an HSBC credit card for the SOLE reason that Cathay Pacific has fare promotions --- and some require the possession of an HSBC credit card.

"Word to CX: the problem with you (and any company requiring a specific credit card issuer) is that by the time the person obtains the credit card, it is often too late to take advantage of the promotion.

"It will be for me - IF and when HSBC Singapore ever issues me a credit card!

"CX's Singapore website informed thus:

'Don't have a HSBC Visa Platinum credit card yet? Sign up for one today! To apply, SMS to 74722 with PLATCNAME NRIC e.g. PLATC Christine Ng S1234567A
Visit for HSBC terms & conditions.'

"I sent an SMS on Nov 13 (11:07 am according to my iPhone) - it remains in the ether somewhere, as there has been no call from HSBC's card centre. As a matter of fact I sent another one after that (both were acknowledged).

"Then, I went online to ask someone to contact me; also no response.

"Last resort: I emailed my brother to refer me for a card so that he and I could benefit (hey, I am as frugal as the traditional HSBC banker!).

"This led me to visit an HSBC branch about a Par 3 from our condominium yesterday afternoon (6 days after my first SMS) and completing an application form and providing copies of my Singapore IC and 2 years' tax returns.

"Last night I got on the web and sent in a referral form on my brother's behalf. It was acknowledged and I was instructed in an email to complete an online application which I tried to complete.

"This morning I attempted to call HSBC's Claymore branch to ask the friendly banker to submit my hard copy application with my brother's referral reference. That's when the fun and games truly started!

"Without going into greater detail, I finally sent this in a feedback form to HSBC:

'I am NOT an HSBC customer and do NOT wish to be after most unsatisfactory recent experiences within 24 hrs. It culminated in dealing with 'Betty' at your call centre (9:20-ish today, Nov 20, 2010) in order to contact Jonathan Shan at your Claymore branch.

'I got hold of 'Betty' as none of the other phone options I tried led me to someone I could speak to without a card or account number.

'Your branch is a stone's throw from where I live and I can walk in any time - but I cannot get the telephone number or have my call routed there.

'So I shall have to get dressed and go look for Jonathan?

'Because 'Betty' required my name, the reason for my wanting to contact Jonathan, etc - thanks to Singapore's absent privacy laws I have to reveal my personal details to a call centre person even before I know if she could help me?

'No way. Thanks, HSBC'

"It is 9:59 am as I write this and Jonathan has not called me. So I shall change and visit the branch to find out if anyone from the call centre has passed on my message to him!

"LATER: (circa 10:12am) My cellphone rang as I was getting ready to visit HSBC at Claymore Hill. It was the brother's friendly banker to whom I gave a potted version of what happened.

"It transpires that the referall programme is restricted to online applications.

"So we agreed he will go ahead and submit the hard copy with the supporting documents today when the bank messenger physically transports it for processing.

"And NO, no one from the HSBC call centre has relayed my message to Jonathan.

"The way I see this whole episode is that the call centre telemarketers, the branch staff and HSBC's online centre all compete for the same piece of business and ne'er the twain shall meet.

"Except when a dummy like me, sitting at my laptop, visits their website with telephones (landline and iPhone) at the ready and within sight of an HSBC branch decides to apply for a credit card that I never wanted before but now need to have in order to buy a discounted air ticket.

"If there is blame (oh dear, I'm being un 'PC') then it is the marketing strategists and executors --the overseers of the website (do they act on responses by SMS and email?) and those training the call centre boys and girls.

"As my late mother used to say, "it's not the poor boob's fault" when the system got the better of a person. Which in this case is true --- the system and manuals got in the way of the people who are supposed to get their audiences to love the bank!"


Saturday, November 20, 2010

No chicken -- or satay --- from SIA

Unlike Irene Hoe, Quak Hiang Whai is not impressed with Singapore Airlines' service. I was surprised by what he told me:

"Disappointed with SIA service quality these days. Flew to Beijing Nov 15 802 Flight. They offered me Pork or nothing for lunch. So i flew all the way to China without a proper meal.

"They said they ran out of chicken. I waited to see if they would surprise me with some initiative (Maybe go Business class and grab some satay or something). Stewardess offered me starters instead."

Well, I am sure biz class would have more than enough satay to spare. Stewardess probably didn't know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Irene praises Fuad from Starhub

Irene Hoe, who had criticised Starhub for its below-par service, has written to praise a young man from the company who helped her.

She said: "While I was on my way to your service centre at Plaza Singapura last week, my left knee gave way and I was in great pain. I managed to hobble over to Starhub. There, a nice young man called Fuad helped me to a seat, and got someone to attend to linking my prepaid account to an auto top-up.

"While I was trying to decide how I was going to make it to Guardian Pharmacy to get a walking stick, Fuad appeared again and gave me his arm to help me get to the pharmacy.

"His genuine concern and thoughtfulness, which no instruction manual and no amount of sensitivity training can instill, are a credit to his upbringing and also to Starhub."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sistic fails to convince Irene

Sharon Chan, Sistic's Senior Executive, Corporate & Marketing Communications, has responded to Irene Hoe's concern with giving her personal data over the Internet in the customer survey.

In an email to Irene, she said: "... we would like to assure you that the survey software we are using offers SSL encryption so your details are encrypted while being transmitted to us.

"The reason why we ask for an ID number is for us to verify that the winner who comes to collect the prize is indeed the person who responded to the survey. We will request for a copy of their ID and check it against the info in the survey. With an attractive prize of iPads, we need to be doubly sure!

"As for birth dates, we use that information to help us understand the
demographics of our respondents."

Unfortunately, Irene was not convinced. She wrote back:

"Dear Sharon,

"To be valid and useful, a market survey does not need such complete and detailed personal ID information, especially that which can be subject to misuse.

"It is well and good that you say you encrypt this. But it is still no guarantee that my personal information will be completely secure in your hands. Moreover, customers have absolutely NO assurance that you will not sell on this information, no matter what you say in an email. An email is not legally binding.

"As I stated, if you asked for the last four digits and alphabet of a customer's IC number instead of the whole thing, you would still be able to verify ID.

"The chances that there would be TWO people with the same name and ICs with exactly the same last four digits AND alphabet are nil.

"Even if I can understand why you want all this information in a form that can be easily hacked - I am unwilling to risk identity theft.

"Besides, I already own an iPad.

"I am a regular if not frequent customer and for that reason, am not ordinarily averse to giving feedback at any time, providing the questions are few and relevant and the format does not insist on so many personal details."

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's taking a long time for term insurance to be promoted

Life insurers know that term insurance is the best and most economical way to ensure protection for you and your family. But they do not encourage their agents to promote it actively because the returns are pittance compared to those that have an investment link.

Over the years, the authorities and a few honest financial advisers have been urging the industry to do the right thing but to date their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Last month, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong raised the subject again by asking life insurers to put more emphasis on term insurance. He gave good reasons why it should be done, one of which was that it would allow lower-income to be insured.

So far, nothing has been heard from the life insurance industry leaders to say that they support SM Goh's call.

Meanwhile, I was encouraged after reading a commentary in The Sunday Times yesterday (Nov 8) by Christopher Tan, CEO of Providend, a fee-only independent financial advisory firm, advocating the use of term insurance as a form of life protection.

I was sufficiently moved by his piece to write a letter to the newspaper calling for action to be taken. Hopefully, it will be published in the next edition.

Here's letter to The Sunday Times....

After reading last Sunday's Invest commentary, “For good terms, buy term insurance”, by Christopher Tan, CEO of Providend, a fee-only independent financial advisory firm, I must say that his is the most honest and clearest of all the views that have been expressed by industry leaders on this subject.

Although there have been other advocates of term insurance as the best and cheapest way to protect yourself and your family, their voices have somewhat been lost in the insurance jungle out there.

This is because insurers have always been able to counter their argument by appealing to people's natural inclinations towards savings and investments, and encouraging them to buy investment-linked products instead.

But what these insurers have failed in their duty by not informing their customers the indecent amount of commissions that they would make from selling such “with-profits” policies. Policy-holders therefore are not made aware of how much they have been over-paying for protection.

But Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong certainly knows what has been going on when he recently urged insurers to put more emphasis on selling term insurance. The Insurance Commissioner from the Monetary Authority of Singapore has also over the years been encouraging the life insurance industry to do the same.

However, my belief is that change will be slow --- if at all. According to CEO Tan, his firm has been advocating term insurance for the past seven years but not very much has changed.

As I see it, there is really no motivation for these insurers to heed what SM Goh said.. Why should they when a large chunk of their profits is from selling investment-linked products. I dread to think how much mis-selling of policies has taken place.

Many who have been landed with “wrong or inappropriate” policies are now stuck with them. They do not know how to extricate themselves from the situation they have been put into without losing lots of money.

While the government is only doing the urging because it still believes in the “buyers beware” regime, the insurers and their agents meanwhile continue to sit pretty on their awesome profits and commissions.

It is high time someone in authority took action to burst the bubble. Words alone mean nothing to Big Business.

Here's Christopher Tan's commentary in The Sunday Times yesterday:

"For good terms, buy term insurance"
Insurance is for protection only – and term policies offer more value for money than whole life plans

"Since 2003, my wealth management firm Providend has been advocating the use of term insurance as a form of life protection. While many Singaporeans appreciated our belief, the insurance and financial planning industry fought it. We stood out like a sore thumb and were a lone voice.

So it was very encouraging for me when, during NTUC Income’s 40th anniversary dinner two weeks ago, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong supported the use of term insurance and even asked insurers to put more emphasis on it.

So, why our belief in using term insurance?

Some of the biggest risks in life include the loss of income due to death, disability and any medical crisis. When we retire and no longer earn an income, we do not need insurance protection for it. Therefore, buying permanent cover using expensive whole life insurance means paying for something that you do not need and likely cannot afford. So Singaporeans end up being grossly under-covered for their protection needs.

One of the main reasons given by insurance agents to people on why they should not buy term insurance is that when the insurance expires, you will get nothing back. While this is true, it is only half a truth. This is because it is the same for whole life plans too. For every dollar you pay as premium for your whole life plan, a portion of it goes into paying the mortality charge that provides you the cover you need. The rest of it is invested into the insurance company’s life fund. The mortality charge portion is never returned to you.

The only reason you get money back from a whole life plan is that you gave the insurance companies extra money to invest. But when you buy a term plan, you are effectively paying only for the mortality charge. You are just buying pure protection.

For the longest time, we have been told that we can use insurance for protection as well as saving towards our financial goals. The irony of this is that the returns of insurance are insufficient to help us reach our goals and whole life insurance is so expensive that you are likely to have insufficient cover, which means it will not protect you fully as well. So buying whole life insurance achieves neither goal.

When we buy term insurance, we can at least achieve the protection goal, which is the priority and foundation of all good financial plans. Then, with proper advice and coaching, we can use the savings from not buying a whole life plan to invest and reach our goals. We now have a chance to achieve both goals. Even if you are very conservative, there are many other optional instruments. There is no need to use insurance. Insurance is for protection only – the word insurance suggests so.

If the advantages of term plans are so clear, why are they not frequently bought? There are many reasons, but editorial space allows me to highlight only the two main ones. I call them the two ‘lacks’ of salesmen. The first is the lack of knowledge, and the second, the lack of motivation.

When I started out in this profession about 14 years ago, I spent a short time with an insurance company. I can count the number of times we were trained in the use of term insurance on one hand. The emphasis was always on ‘with-profits’ products.

But I think the biggest hindrance to term plans is the salesman’s lack of motivation. It is obvious that the commission payout for a whole life plan is a lot more than that for a term plan. In this commission-hungry industry where salesmen are rewarded for sales more than advice, whole life plans will always be sold. This is not to say there are no good salesmen or advisers out there. Unfortunately, they are in the minority. I know some of them who will insist on recommending term insurance despite earning less. To these people, I salute you. But the fact still remains that for the majority, compensation drives behaviour.

I speak at seminars to thousands of people each year. Every time I ask why they don’t buy term insurance, most will tell me that their agents and advisers will not sell it to them. Even if they do, they will package some whole life plans together with it, on the basis of ‘playing safe’, just in case they need it for their entire life.

About two months ago, I asked an actuary (someone who designs insurance products) who had left an insurance company what he buys for himself. Like many former actuaries I have spoken to, he said he would never buy an investment-linked plan or a whole life plan as it is just too expensive and doesn’t make sense. He has protected his family with term plans. So, if the chef doesn’t eat his own cooking, why should we?

SM Goh pointed out that it is the advisers who wield the greatest influence on the type of plan a person buys. I agree. We have been advocating term insurance for the past seven years and not very much has changed. I believe real change will come when Singaporeans understand what insurance is for and begin to insist on term insurance. Salesmen will then have no choice but to sell it.

It is a shame that clients have to tell this industry the right thing to do. But in the case of term insurance, it is the only way things will change. I look forward to the day when we have an advisory industry and not a sales one."

The writer is the chief executive officer of Providend, a fee-only independent financial advisory firm.

As a parting note, this is what CNBC's financial adviser Suze Orman, who also advocates term insurance, has to say about whole-life policies:

"If your friend advises you to buy a whole-life plan, he is NOT your friend."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

DBS makes service recovery

I posted Auntie Lucie's complaint about DBS's customer-unfriendly way of cancelling her Gold Visa card on my blog last month (
She emailed today to inform me that the DBS has acted to bring closure to the issue. A woman named Mel rang her to say that the bank was going to upgrade her card to Platinium.

Here's what she wrote in her blog, Food fuels me to talk...

"DBS credit card: service recovery?

Believe it or not, I got a call around sevenish tonight, from a woman who said she was from DBS. When asked for her name, she said she was Mel, no surname, nothing more as “sorry, we are not allowed to give more identification”.


She offered to upgrade my DBS Gold Visa card that I had been notified would cease to be valid from Dec 1 — as detailed here – to a Platinum card, at no charge and to port over all existing arrangements and benefits from the gold card to the new card.

She asked for my I/C number and date of birth.

Naturally, after I accepted the offer verbally – although grumbling all the while why such an offer couldn’t have been made together with the notice to invalidate the existing card — I was somewhat suspicious.

Could it all be a hoax?

OK, the caller ID on my mobile showed 68786800 but it’s not a number I’m familiar with, tho that doesn’t necessarily make it a fake number of course!

Hence on hearing Mel say she couldn’t give me a more complete name than M-E-L to help me identify her in future should the need arise, I pressed for other identifying marks.

Which department are you from?

She replied: “Funds transfer department.”

Does that deal with the credit card in question?

She replied: “I’m helping the customer service agent.”

I was about to give up when she added this caveat: “You should receive your platinum card no later than February 2011. Meanwhile, you can continue to use your gold card.”

So, great! The card that was going to be invalid on Dec 1 would remain valid till February 2011, unless the new card arrives earlier.

Again, why couldn’t DBS have thought all this thru before shooting off its termination notice?

Still, I really should be thanking DBS on bended knees for remembering to make me this offer, considering that it ends tomorrow. I should consider myself lucky to have gotten on board be4 it ended, n’est pas?

Such great service recovery this! If I’m ever asked, I shall definitely nominate DBS as Singapore’s best service provider of the year! Only kidding! "

I am glad DBS is listening --- and acting. Hopefully, it is learning, too.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sistic, be more sensitive!

Sistic is doing a survey as it aims to improve its service "to make your ticket buying experience a better one." But it also wants those being surveyed to give their IC numbers and other details which theatre-goer Irene Ho objects to.

She wrote to Sistic: "Do NOT ever require people to give you their IC numbers online when you can offer NO ASSURANCE of the security of our information and NO GUARANTEE that my identity will not be stolen through the carelessness - or worse - of the staff at your office and those who might handle this information.

"I got to the end of the survey and would have been happy to send it in but NOT with my IC number, complete with birthdate and other details that would have allowed someone to use my Sistic account without my knowledge and also do certain financial transactions.

"It should be enough to require the last three or four digits of a customer's IC number. After all, YOU contacted me and you should recognise me as a customer.

"This is just a survey. You are not paying us to complete this survey. Your prize is not worth the risk of compromising the security of my identity."

As an organisation dealing with the public, Sistic ought to be more sensitive about their customers' personal data.