UPDATED: Little boys, big phone bills

UPDATED: Little boys, big phone bills

12-year old runs up 200,000 baht bill for playing Cookie Run game on mother's phone, even though phone had 1,000 baht limit.

UPDATE: More stories of children racking up large bills playing games on their parents are emerging.  After her 15-year old teenage son played combat games on her phone for four days, a mother in Mae Sot, Tak received a phone bill for almost 600,000 baht. The bill for June actually only amounted to 614.46 baht, but the mobile phone operator demanded another 595,398.51 baht for ordered "products and services" and when she didn't pay the bill her phone service was suspended but the phone company eventually agreed to cancel the extra charges.

In another incident, a mother of an eight-year-old boy in Phetchaburi received a mobile phone bill of 163,405 baht this month. Her son had played a game on her phone during the school holidays and ordered items in the game because he had thought he could pay for them with his accumulated game scores. She had also earlier set a limit at 2,000 baht per month.

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B200k phone bill spurs review

Suchit Leesa-nguansuk, Komsan Tortermvasana & Amornrat Mahitthirook

A shock bill run up by a child using a smartphone game has prompted calls to alert smartphone owners when they are close to reaching their usage limits.

The move comes after a farmer's child aged 12 racked up a bill of over 200,000 baht in mobile game charges with Advanced Info Service (AIS) as he purchased crystal items from Line's Cookie Run game.

The boy said he didn't know he would have to pay for the downloaded items, as it was added automatically to his mother's phone bill, despite the fact she had imposed a usage limit on the phone of 1,000 baht.

Prawit Leesathapornwongsa, a National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) member, said the regulator yesterday asked the five mobile operators to initially limit spending on mobile content and applications at 1,000 baht to stop such shock bills.

The NBTC also wants AIS to improve its direct carrier billing system, or over the top (OTT) service [extra charges on your phone bill for extra services or products].

The OTT service provides a product over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution. AIS is the only mobile operator providing the OTT service.

Mr Prawit said the NBTC required mobile operators to send short messages to alert mobile customers who install mobile applications for the first time.

"We plan to discuss the issue with Google Thailand's executives and the mobile operators on Thursday," he said.

Meanwhile, Ampon Wongsiri, secretary-general of the Office of the Consumer Protection Board, said the office is considering a regulation to limit the age of mobile gamers.

Those who are still minors must get approval from their parents before being allowed to play games.

Pratthana Leelapanang, AIS's senior vice-president for digital products and services, said the company will waive the bill for the boy.

He admitted AIS had only set data usage and data roaming limits for mobile phone users. The limits do not apply to content and applications.

A warning message will now be sent when customers' data usage exceeds their package limits.

In April, AIS allowed customers using Android-based mobile phones to buy content and applications from Google's Play Store apps, enabling users to pay for the content they purchased in their mobile bills — instead of using a credit card or a debit card as they did in the past.

This appears to have been the source of the farmer family's problems, as paying for a download on a credit card is more transparent than getting a bill after the event to which the items have been charged.

Mr Pratthana said AIS will limit content and applications usage to 1,000-2,000 baht for post-paid customers. "In the future, we will allow customers to create their own usage limits," he added.


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  • accumulate: to get more and more of something over a period of time - เก็บสะสม, สะสม, สั่งสมมานาน
  • admit: to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ
  • alert: to tell someone in about a danger or problem so that they can take action to deal with it - เตือนภัย
  • appear: to seem - ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า
  • application (app): a program designed to do a particular job; a piece of software - โปรแกรมใช้งาน, โปรแกรมคอมพิวเตอร์
  • approval: official permission - การอนุมัต
  • automatically: when a machine does something by itself without needing a humaN to operate it and make decisions; self-operating, automated - อัตโนมัติ, เป็นไปโดยอัตโนมัติ
  • billing: the business process of sending customers bills showing them how much they must pay and then collecting their money -
  • board: a group of people who have the responsibility of managing important business or government activities - คณะกรรมการ
  • bypass: to avoid dealing with someone or something - หลีกเลี่ยง
  • call (noun): a request, an order or a demand for somebody to do something or to go somewhere - ข้อเรียกร้อง
  • carrier: a company that provides a telephone or Internet service -
  • charge (noun): a payment or fee for something - ค่า
  • combat (noun): fighting; fighting during a war - การต่อสู้
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • consumer: someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค
  • content: the subject, ideas, or story that a piece of writing or a radio or television programme deals with - เนื้อหา,สาระ
  • data: facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions - ข้อมูล, ตัวเลข, สถิติ
  • debit card (noun): a plastic card that can be used to take money directly from your bank account - บัตรเดบิต, บัตรatm
  • demand: a very firm request for something - ข้อเรียกร้อง, การเรียกร้อง
  • despite (prep): used to show that something happened or is true although something else might have happened to prevent it; used to show that somebody did not intend to do the thing mentioned - ถึงอย่างไรก็ตาม, ทั้ง ๆ ที่
  • direct (adjective): going straight to a place (not "going to other places first" which is "indirect") - ตรงไป, ไม่เบี่ยงเบน
  • distribution: the process of giving something out to many different places - การแจกจ่าย
  • emerge: to appear or to become recognised - โผล่ออกมา
  • enable: to make someone able to do something, or to make something possible - ทำให้เป็นไปได้
  • eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด
  • exceed: to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
  • executive: a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร
  • impose: to introduce something and force people to accept it - กำหนด,บังคับใช้
  • incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
  • initially: at first - ในเบื้องต้น
  • install: to put a piece of equipment somewhere and make it ready for use - ติดตั้ง
  • issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น
  • item: a single article or object - รายการ, รายการสิ่งของ
  • limit: the greatest or smallest amount of something that is allowed - ขีดจำกัด
  • limit: to stop something from increasing beyond a particular amount or level - จำกัด
  • Line: the name of a popular mobile phone chat app known for its funny stickers -
  • message: a piece of written or spoken information that you send to someone, especially when you cannot speak to them directly - ข่าวสาร, ข้อความ
  • minor: someone who has not reached the age where they are legally an adult - เยาวชน
  • mobile (technology): of devices, especially telecommunication devices, that can easily be moved around, e.g., mobile phones, tablets, notebook computers - อุปกรณ์ซึ่งเคลื่อนที่ได้ง่าย
  • move (noun): action -
  • National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC): the independent government agency which oversees and regulates the Thai telecoms and broadcasting industry - สำนักงานคณะกรรมการกิจการกระจายเสียง กิจการโทรทัศน์และกิจการโทรคมนาคมแห่งชาติ
  • operator (noun): a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
  • order (verb): to officially request a company for some product you want to buy - สั่ง
  • package: many goods or services sold together in one "package" -
  • prompted: caused - ก่อให้เกิด
  • protection: the act of protecting somebody/something; the state of being protected - การอารักขา, การปกป้อง
  • purchase: to buy something - ซื้อ
  • rack up: rack up a big bill; run up a big bill; spend a lot of money so that the business gives you a big bill asking you to pay a lot of money -
  • regulation: an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ
  • regulator: an official (or organisation) who makes certain that the companies who operate a system work effectively and fairly - ผู้มีอำนาจควบคุม
  • review: the process of studying or examining a situation, policy, or idea again in order to decide whether it is suitable or satisfactory - การทบทวน
  • roaming: the ability to connect to the Internet or to use your mobile phone when you are travelling, without having to make long-distance or international phone calls -
  • run up (verb): spend money and increase the amount you owe (run up expenses, run up a bill, etc) -
  • secretary-general (noun): the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่
  • shock: a strong feeling of surprise as a result of something happening, especially something unpleasant; the event that causes this feeling - ช็อค, ความสะดุ้ง, อาการช็อค
  • source: the place or person or something comes from or starts at, or the cause of something - ต้นกำเนิด, แหล่งกำเนิด
  • spur: to cause something to happen - ก่อให้เกิด 
  • suspend: to stop for a period of time - ยกเลิกชั่วคราว, ระงับชั่วคราว
  • teenager: a person who is between the ages of 13-19 - บุคคลที่มีอายุระหว่าง 13-19 ปี, คนรุ่นหนุ่มรุ่นสาว, วัยรุ่น
  • traditional (adj): of a custom, a way of life or a way of doing things that has not changed for a long time - เป็นประเพณี, ตามธรรมเนียม, ตามที่ปฏิบัติกันมา
  • transparent: not keeping anything secret; open - โปร่งใส
  • usage (noun): how much someone uses a service, measured in minutes, for example - การใช้
  • waive: to officially ignore a rule, right, or claim - ปลด
  • warning: an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - การเตือน
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