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NBTC targets huge Cookie Run phone debt

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

NBTC targets huge Cookie Run phone debt
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is considering enforcing monthly debt limits for bills incurred by playing online games.

No matter how cute and innocent Cookie Run characters may look, it was said that players risk losing too much money if they don’t understand that special items in the game are sometimes sold for real money.

“It may be necessary to impose credit limits for the purchase of applications, games, items and stickers – perhaps at Bt1,000 per billing cycle,” NBTC member Prawit Leesathapornwongsa said yesterday.

He was speaking after he summoned the representatives of five mobile-phone service operators to a meeting in the wake of reports that a 12-year-old boy incurred a phone bill of more than Bt200,000 in less than a month via the Cookie Run.

The bill was from Advanced Wireless Network, a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS), he said.

AWN is the first operator in Thailand to allow mobile-phone users to pay for Google Play Store services via direct carrier billing (DCB). With this method, mobile-phone users do not need to associate their account with a credit-card number. They can pay for the services via their phone-service payment, which could be either pre-paid or post-paid from April 30 to May 30.

AIS executive Pratana Leelapanang said the company had decided to launch DCB services to provide convenience to users of Android phones.

“And when we noticed that some customers had incurred unusually high expenses last month, we didn’t stay idle. We immediately shut down the DCB service for all post-paid users,” he said.

Pratana said AIS had also offered to waive fees for customers who unintentionally bought services from the Google Play Store via DCB.

He said AIS would develop its alert system further to prevent customers from incurring unwanted expenses.

“We’re also thinking about a credit limit and educating the public more about online services.”

Prawit said the NBTC would invite Google Thailand to a discussion on Thursday to see how the firm, as a platform provider, could help prevent the aforementioned problems.

However, the DCB services provided by AWN are done via a contract between Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), the major shareholder of AIS, and Google Singapore.

Cookie Run is an irresistible game among many Thais.

Two months ago, a Thai man fell from a four-storey building after becoming overly focused on playing the game. Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt.

In the latest case of youngsters unwittingly running up bills while playing games on mobile phones, AIS has agreed to waive some Bt600,000 racked up by an 18-year-old boy in Mae Sot, Tak province.

The boy did not realise he was spending real money when he bought items while playing the popular Cookie Run game.

Atchara Jaikrua, who spent many sleepless nights after receiving a phone bill worth Bt596,398 thanks to her son’s favourite pastime, said she was relieved to hear that the phone service operator had decided to waive the bill on grounds that she did not know it.

Atchara, who works at a drinks shop, paid her actual bill worth Bt614.46 and decided to cancel the number. She also called on other parents to beware about allowing their kids to use post-paid phones.

Similarly, a resident in Phetchaburi’s Ban Lad district was sent a bill of Bt163,405 after her eight-year-old son reportedly bought items to advance in the Cookie Run game through her phone. Somthawil Khiewsa-art said the phone service operator had told her to pay the first instalment of Bt48,000 soon, adding she did not know what to do. She went on to say that her son had played the game for months without any problems and then started buying items, not knowing that they cost money.

Another parent in Udon Thani’s Muang district claimed his child had also unwittingly racked up a bill of Bt70,495 on his phone. Telewiz Udon Thani executive Sawat Theerattananukulchai said he had discussed this case with AIS and the telecom operator had agreed to check if the bill stemmed from the user’s ignorance. And if so, AIS would cover the expense.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

Thaiger

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Economy

Stimulus package gives more back the more you spend

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A new stimulus package aims to get the middle class spending. (via Flickr - Marco Verch)

A new stimulus package targeting middle and high-income people aims at increasing spending by offering more e-voucher the more you spend. Ying Chai Ying Dai, which translates to “the more you spend the more you get”, will reward those who spend between 46,000 and 70,000 baht with a 7,000 baht e-voucher. This part of the government’s 225 billion baht stimulus package hopes to encourage 4 million qualifying middle- to upper-class people to spend more money by refunding 10-15% back, according to the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office.

People wishing to participate must register and make their purchases through a government e-wallet system. The system works by refunding 10 to 15% of purchases with a maximum of 7,000 baht. So at 15%, a person who spent 46,000 baht would receive back the full 7,000. On the 10% scheme, 70,000 baht in spending would be necessary to reach 7,000 cashback. No details were available on what determines the percentage level.

An additional 2,000 baht will be available for people participating in the “Section 33 Rao Rak Kan” and “Rao Chana” scheme. The plans are expected to push 85.5 billion Baht back into the economy as recipients must spend the cash by the end of June.

The 50/50 stimulus program that has been popular with the government covering half of what people spend for half for food, drink, and other items up to 150 baht per person per day will also be expanded. That plan began on October 23, and ended at the end of 2020, covering 10 million people with each receiving 3000 baht. The second phase of the popular program added 5 million more people and raised the limit to 3,500 baht per person.

A third phase of the “Khon La Khrueng” stimulus plan is expected to begin in July with participants getting a maximum of 3,500 baht each to spend, and opening the program to 16 million new people. This massive expansion though will stipulate that anyone participating in this program cannot also participate in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme.

All of these cash and voucher benefits aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, along with cash handouts for people who have state welfare cards, are part of 245 billion baht the government is spending in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. This falls under an emergency loan decree allocating the government 1 trillion baht total to cope with Covid-19.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals

Thaiger

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Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

2,044 new Covid-19 cases and 27 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,320 active Covid-19 cases. 1,170 Covid patients are in critical condition including 367 on ventilators.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 78,855 Covid-19 infections and 363 virus-related deaths.

Out of 27 new fatalities, patients were ages 30 to 90. Most of the deaths were in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. Several contacted the virus from family members.

Provinces with the highest number of new confirmed cases…

Province New cases Total cases since April 1
Bangkok 869 16,917
Nonthaburi 201 3,032
Samut Prakan 165 2,902
Chon Buri 89 3,128
Samut Sakhon 69 1,299
Surat Thani 60 1,035
Pathum Thani 39 1,099
Chiang Mai 33 3,180
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 32 607
Nakhon Pathom 29 746
Ranong 29 329

 

Districts in Bangkok with the highest number of confirmed cases…

District New cases
Khlong Toei 46
Pathum Wan 24
Bang Khae 24
Lat Phrao 13
Ratchathewi 10
Pom Prap Sattru Phai 9
Bueng Kum 9
Phasi Charoen 8
Bang Khun Thian 8
Din Daeng 8

Covid UPDATE: 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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