World Online pays runaway girl's 900 Net bill

'The most important thing is that Karen is home, safe and sound.' Yeah, right

World Online has pledged to pay the 900 phone bill of Internet runaway Karen Churcher.

To do so anonymously and without hype would have been a truly worthy gesture, especially since Karen fled her home after rowing with her parents over the bill. It's clear that this was a lot of money for the family to find.

But to latch the ISP's product to the distressing events that affected this family is nothing short of cynical, manipulative and downright distasteful.

In a statement Laurence Alexander, MD, Consumer Services at World Online, said: "The most important thing is that Karen is home, safe and sound.

"With Freedom 24 we can hope that no-one ever again has to face the situation that Karen and her family found themselves in.

"The Internet is such an integral part of so many peoples' daily lives, and is a crucial aid for students, that everybody should have access to the Internet for free.

It appears that Alexander is happy to make capital at another's expense. Alexander - and who ever else was involved in this inexcusable episode - should think again, or get someone else to advise them on their PR.

Is World Online going to bail out every teenager that gets balled at by their parents for running up a massive phone bill and then legs it? Somehow I doubt it. ®

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