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KPN drops 50% discount for 100% Dutch following criticism

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Telecoms company KPN has dropped a new promotional offer giving a 50% discount to 100% Dutch nationals following complaints from several French people who were told in a KPN shop they could not take advantage of the scheme, according to media reports.

The discount on the Hi Messaging subscription only applied to people with a Dutch passport or a residency permit of at least a year, newspapers reported.

Labour MEP Emine Bozkurt raised the issue directly with KPN, who said immediately the offer was a mistake and apologised.

Under EU law, nationality is irrelevant when it comes to taking out a mobile phone subscription or buying any product or service, Bozkurt said in a statement.

[Editor's note: this story later transpired to be a mixture of rumours and misunderstandings. For the full story click here]

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

This is glaring super clear example of exactly what is wrong with the Dutch view on what discrmination means.
I will personally not be purchasing or leasing anything from KPN from now on. Is that the result that KPN wanted? Is that smart global business?

By Bill | 18 April 2012 8:59 AM

Actually, over the past 5 years I have asked about having a mobile phone subscription at every high street outlet of, I think, every operator and they all have told me that I cannot have a contract without having a Dutch Passport so I am on pay-as-you-go.

By Gerard | 18 April 2012 9:40 AM

@Gerard: you must be unlucky. I don't have a "Dutch passport" (but rather an ITalian one) as was able to sign a contract within 4 months of arriving here. Simple as that.

By Andre L. | 18 April 2012 10:36 AM

@Gerard, iether the rules have change or the're just lying to you.
I've been here more than ten years, do not have a dutch passport & I have a contract mobile.
Though I was asked to produce my residence permit. A friend with no permit was asked to pay a 200 euro bond.

By Donaugh | 18 April 2012 10:45 AM

How is it possible such an offer to be a "mistake"? And conveniently enough the company only apologizes when this becomes public and then drops the offer... Which kind of people work at KPN's marketing department?

By Bolo | 18 April 2012 10:48 AM

Gerard, I am definitely non-dutch and I, my wife, and a big number of my friends (all non-dutch) have subscriptions. All you need is a dutch bank account.

By PA | 18 April 2012 11:06 AM

I don't have a Dutch passport not even EU passport but I do have a residence permit here and I have always had contracts with different providers. If your residence permit is less than 1 year valid, I can see the reason why you were refused a contract which usually takes at least a year.

By Mackenzie | 18 April 2012 11:21 AM

@gerard- Try www.simpel.nl no passport needed.

By larry | 18 April 2012 11:47 AM

Wow, really Gerard? That is absolutely ridiculous. You're so right, Bill - this is an exact example of how discrimination is widely misunderstood in this country.

I guess because, being from North America, we are so used to all kinds of different people that we are more sensitive to it? I dunno.

By Stupid | 18 April 2012 12:21 PM

On Good Friday I shopped for a mobile phone plan and in the four shops I entered all four offered me, a two month resident with UK/Australian passports, a contract - no complications. I purchased a plan eventually without any issues or restrictions.

By Owen Langdale | 18 April 2012 1:15 PM

Gerard, I am very surprised at this. I am a UK National with a British Passport. I have lived in The Netherlands for 5 years and have had contracts with KPN and Vodaphone with NO issues whatsoever!

By mazza, nijmegen | 18 April 2012 1:32 PM

For sure KPN is doing so brilliant that they do not need business from foreigners!! Perhaps KPN top dog is friend with Geert Wilders looks like ..hey it's a free country ..carry on...KPN get's not one peeny of meeeeeeeeeeee

By Minnie | 18 April 2012 3:54 PM

Another example of KPN not being able to fulfill anything anyone at that company promises you. we have eliminated everything from KPN to other vendors that know what they are doing and selling.

By Liza | 18 April 2012 3:54 PM

Fortuanately KPN said it was a mistake and corrected it. KPN has many EU employees and this sort of "offer" is entirely out of character. Let's hope the employee who dreamt up this scheme has been "ontslagen op staande voet" (instant dismissal).

By Andy | 18 April 2012 3:57 PM

Although I don't like KPN but one needs to realize, according to the article, it was NOT based on nationality alone. It was given even if the applicant had a legal residence permit with at least 1 year on it.

So to me, it is all fine.

I remember the same thing in the states, if you didn't have a credit history (always the case if you just entered the country), you would have to put a huge payment down to be able to subscribe (about 500 bucks).

By dork | 18 April 2012 4:15 PM

Keep in mind a passport from an EU country is not the same as one from a non-EU country. For example, I'm not allowed to apply for an Ikea credit card because I have neither permanent residency or an EU passport.

Although, that being said, I'm quite sure official policy and what the kid in the store says often contradict each other. And, as someone said, a one-year permit probably won't suffice.

By CW | 18 April 2012 4:33 PM

I have a Romanian passport..uhhh...yes indeed :) And when I wanted to make an abonament at TMobile my passport number format was not accepted buy the system.
They finally made it but requested from me really many papers.

By Andreea | 18 April 2012 4:36 PM

I am french and indeed had the same problem when trying to get a contract. But I managed to get everything sorted by ordering phone and contract online...but offers are not always the same indeed.

By Emma | 18 April 2012 4:37 PM

Will all the Dutch Nationals who benefited from this scheme before the French complained have their contracts revoked? Will all those that were refused during that period because of their nationality (like the French that complained) be given the 50% discount that was offered to others during that period? Sorry is a cheap and easy opt out for KPN.

By jaycee | 18 April 2012 4:43 PM

Andy: question to me is how exactly do these weird ideas get so much and time and effort spent on them, and then implemented? isn't the idea obviously 'out of character' and inappropriate?

By Bill | 18 April 2012 5:05 PM

@Bill and @Stupid, I would not say that "discrimination is widely misunderstood in this country". Rather it is considered an integral part of how life and society should be organized. It is a consequence of the pillarization of Dutch society over centuries. The most extreme example of this is of course Apartheid (a Dutch word not by chance).

By Leon | 18 April 2012 5:35 PM

stupid: thanks, good point, I think most of my personal and professional issues here are clearly caused by cultural differences. In the US, discrimination and treating people equally are directly addressed in our constitution. Of course people in the US also discriminate, but they normally get taken to court and get sued big time if it can be proven. having the equal rights of people written in the constitution provides the support needed to create consequences for discriminatory behavior. this very important fundamental document was adopted in the US in 1787. It is one big reason that the United States remain united, and why the US is such a powerful nation.

By Bill | 18 April 2012 5:45 PM

5 years ago my medicine was stopped by UK NHS and I came to Holland in desperation where I could have pain and illness relief. Leiden was first town I lived in and I found it to be very aggressive towards non-Dutch and Disabled. When I tried to reason EU Law with staff in mobile phone shops in Leiden I was met with aggression and almost pushed out of one. I tried when I lived in Den Haag but also refused a contract due to not having Dutch Passport or Residence Certificate. Tried again and again. Tried in Haarlem but same result. Over the years I have tried in many towns but always same result. Now given up!

By Gerard | 18 April 2012 5:55 PM

To be fair, only the Dutch would use KPN anyway. Those of us who have lived in (any) other countries actually realise the actual definition of customer service means... giving service to customers. This fact has conitnually escaped KPN - most expats leave them within months of moving here for that very reason.

By osita | 18 April 2012 6:55 PM

Maybe it's KPN that's funding Geert Wilders. They certainly seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet

By radio junkie | 18 April 2012 7:27 PM

I have a sneaky suspicion that Gerard has the "wrong sort of passport". For years, foreigners living in Amsterdam South east couldn't even join the local videotheek. Turned out people from, specifically, Ghana, were borrowing stuff and then never returning it. In order "not to discriminate" all foreigners were given a blanket refusal.

By William | 18 April 2012 11:04 PM

Unfortunately I signed a 2 year contract with Hi a few months ago. If only there was a way to stop it RIGHT NOW.. Shame on KPN!

By John | 19 April 2012 6:51 AM

I think the ability to get a new contract phone depends on the provider and the term of the residence permit. When I arrived in NL, I was told KPN would reject 'buitenlanders' but Vodafone would be happy to give me contract. My initial permit was for 1.5 years and no-one gave me 1 year sim-only contract. Then, when I was called to NL again, this time with as a kennismigrant with 4years residence permit. I had no problems with Vodafone. They required some extra documents that proved I was getting a stable salary.

By Murat | 19 April 2012 8:25 AM

We all know how companies work, right? This is not something that one employee can create, approve and launch. Management must have known this and agreed to this. Otherwise, KPN has some serious control and process problems. And I almost don't know what is more scary.

By Alice | 19 April 2012 9:29 AM

@Leon, afaik apartheid was the official politics in South Africa, not in the Netherlands. And it became official during the British reign.

By tim | 19 April 2012 10:16 AM

@Alice and Bill: Yip - I am baffled by the fact that this "idea" had to pass through the chain of command, i.e., pass by MANY people, before being launched. And ALL THOSE PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA. *That* is the scary part.

And to Bill: ALL of my personal differences are due to cultural differences, and I must say I quite like my culture more than NL's. I do not regret living here one bit, though, as I have learned A LOT and met some genuinely sweet, forward-thinking people.

In Canada, our Bill of Rights has much the same language as the US Constitution. And the longer I live here, the more proud I am of being Canadian.

By Stupid | 19 April 2012 12:17 PM

Stupid: as well you should be proud! not only of your Canadian heritage, but also of who you are and the way you live and treat others. these good social qualities in you show in your comments.
Not my business, but I think you should change your 'name' to something other than stupid - because you sure aren't that!

By Bill | 19 April 2012 2:59 PM

@Tim. I know Apartheid was the policy of SA. But note that, though forms of segregation existed in SA (and elsewhere) for centuries, "Apartheid" was enforced after WW2 and it was developed by the National Party, which was mostly Afrikaner (i.e. of Dutch descent) dominated, therefore the word itself is Afrikaans (i.e. of Dutch origin). I am only saying that this is an extreme form of pillarization, which is a way of "managing society", if you see what I mean, which is typical of our country. Of course racism takes many forms, but the obsession with applying rules and policies according to supposed categories of people is very Dutch.

By Leon | 19 April 2012 3:12 PM

Though the promo (as reported here) looks dodgy under EU law, I don't recognise the country you are all describing.
I've lived in NL since +/- 2000 and don't recognise any of the problems you are describing.
When I opened a bank account they asked if I wanted a credit card, which I recieved within a week.
When I went for a mobile phone I was asked to show my residence permit , which I did, & left the shop with a phone & contract. I recieve a new phone every year.
Are you sure we live in the same country?

By Donaugh | 19 April 2012 6:17 PM

The fact that a lot of Afrikaners are of Dutch descent, doesn't make them Dutch. They are South Africans. I don't think we would call Americans, Canadians, Australians of British descent Brits. SA became a British colony in 1806. The ways of the Netherlands and SA parted since then.

By tim | 20 April 2012 1:59 PM

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