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Foreigners in S. Korea Complain of Rip-offs
Foreigners in Seoul

Foreign residents in South Korea face problems with sales and services due to language barriers and discrimination, a report says — despite the nation's ambition to become a regional financial hub.

Quoting the Consumer Protection Board survey as reported in local newspapers in Seoul, AFP said that of 545 of the 536,000 expatriates who had lived in the country for at least three months, only 17 percent were unhappy with their lives overall but 42 percent expressed dissatisfaction with buying daily goods and services.

JoongAng Daily and other papers reported earlier reported that nearly half of those who were dissatisfied complained about mobile phone services, because stores fail to provide instructions in English and require foreigners — but not locals — to make deposits of up to 200,000 won (213 dollars).

The JoongAng quoted an expatriate working for a public relations firm as saying a firm had refused to rent him a water filter because he was not Korean. "I asked at two store locations and was told that they cannot trust foreigners."

Expatriates are often also required to pay one year's cable TV fee in advance, and two years' rent up front.

The JoongAng, in an editorial, said such attitudes were an obstacle to globalisation. "If we think of foreigners as suckers and rip them off, we will become loners in international society."






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