Before the advent of mobile phones few children had phone contracts. Now, many young children have them. So what happens when payments are missed?
If the contract is with Swisscom, then children as young as 11 could have debt collectors pursuing them, according to a case reported by RTS.
According to RTS, a 22 year-old woman ran into trouble renting a home after discovering she had a debt registered against her. When she was 13 her mother entered into a phone contract in her name and failed to keep up with the payments, racking up a debt of 1,000 francs.
Contacted by RTS, a Swisscom spokesperson explained that a minor can have a contract in their name if a parent or guardian agrees and signs. These contracts are available for children from the age of 11.
In such cases where the contract is in the child’s name, the child is ultimately responsible for the contract not the parent. There is no joint responsibility either.
In practice some debt collectors chase both parent and child for outstanding payments. However, if the parent doesn’t pay the child is ultimately responsible for the debt.
A similar surprise can await some young Swiss residents when they turn 18. In a case reported last year, an 18 year-old received a bill for unpaid health insurance premiums incurred when they were a child.