The most recent article on a Hongkonger’s win in a court against the taxi driver who wouldn’t take the passenger across the harbour was by far a big win for the little guy. 1 You see in Hong Kong, regulations aren’t formally in place, and even if there were, it’s not strictly enforced; everything works mostly by “trust”. It’s a strange concept for such an international city with its rich history. The founders who more or less built Hong Kong to where it is now were 4 Hong Kong tycoon families. They were responsible for much of the foundations of the territory including its economy, finance, and trade, whilst the British government provided the first codified legal system which until then and in most of China today, was lacking. 2
Back to present day… If you’re living on Lantau Island, there aren’t a lot of choices of telecom service providers. In fact there’s just one and the internet signal especially is unstable and weak when it rains. A client of mine spent a year fighting with the telephone service provider who had charged a cancellation fee when the subscription was activated for 1 month. Lisa* spent the next 3 months trying to get technicians over to the home to reconnect the telephone line. Each time the technicians came they asked her to wait a couple of days for it to activate. But the phone line never reactivated. However the monthly bill still came in requesting overdue payment. She tried contacting the accounts department to ask for a hold on the payment until the line was fixed. She also called the sales person to help and transfer the request to the support hotline. No one returned her call. Then one day she received a letter of notice that the phone line had been cancelled and she was to be charged a contract-break cancellation fee. Lisa was travelling for work during those weeks and asked her mother for help. Her mother, who spoke local Cantonese spoke on her daughter’s behalf to some senior supervisors in the sales, accounting and support department to assist. Her mother experienced stalling and in one particular instance with the customer support team said they don’t keep records of customer calls. Then Lisa receive a notice from a collection agency for 4 months of outstanding payment plus the cancellation fee. She was appalled and obviously upset. That’s when I stepped in. I suggested that we write to the head of sales and accounts department a formal letter of what had happened and faxed this over to them. Within 10 days, the collection letter was retracted client ended getting the penalties waived and the month purchased annulled and Lisa even got a letter of an apology.
Most HongKongers, unlike our cab passenger or Lisa probably have the time to fight these battles. We at Hong Kong Virtual Assistant can help save you time who understand the this for you and have a lot of experience with dealing with local service providers and government organisations, large, small and independents. Our success with Lisa is only one of our stories. Please contact us for more on how we can help you in your home administration or in your business here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources taken from:
- Hongkonger Wins Case Against Taxi Who Refused to Cross the Harbour – Victory for the little man, 23 May 2016, HK Magazine
- Wikipedia – Four big families of Hong Kong
* For the purpose of this article, we have concealed the client’s real name and the name Lisa will be used.