E-com­merce pur­chase reg­u­la­tions mod­i­fied

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

The State Ad­min­is­tra­tion for In­dus­try and Com­merce re­leased an en­hanced con­sumer pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tion on Tues­day gov­ern­ing e-com­merce pur­chases.

Un­der the new reg­u­la­tion, cus­tomers can re­turn the opened goods they bought on­line within seven days and get full re­funds, with­out pro­vid­ing any rea­son for the re­turn.

Theruleiss­lat­ed­to­comeinto ef­fec­tonMarch15. On­linere­tail­ers who refuse or de­lay to process the re­turns could be im­posed fines as high as 500,000yuan($79,650), ac­cord­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The cur­rent law, which was put into ef­fec­tonMarch 15 last year, re­quires that goods bought on­line be re­turned within seven days with­out ex­cuses, but does not give de­tails on­whether the opened items can be re­turned.

De­spite the reg­u­la­tion, most on­line re­tail­ers have set up their own re­turn schemes for con­sumers un­happy with their prod­ucts, stat­ing that re­turned items should have their pack­ag­ing in­tact and re­main in the orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

Since last year, the China Con­sumers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, a con­sumer pro­tec­tion author­ity, has re­ceived an in­creas­ing num­ber of on­line pur­chase com­plaints from buy­ers, mostly re­lated to the dif­fi­cul­ties in re­turn­ing goods, the as­so­ci­a­tion said.

“The new reg­u­la­tion will be ben­e­fit con­sumers. Some con­sumers have be­come wary of e-com­merce re­tail­ers af­ter they dis­cov­ered coun­ter­feit prod­ucts on­line. The gov­ern­ment should reg­u­late on­line busi­ness be­hav­ior and pro­tect con­sumer rights,” said Wang Xiaox­ing, an an­a­lyst with In­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys In­ter­na­tional.

“Re­turn­ing the items is a rea­son­able de­mand. On­line re­tail­er­shave toobey the re­lated reg­u­la­tions. The re­turn poli­cies on e-com­merce web­sites would be in­valid if the dis­claimers don’t con­form to the law,” he said.

Wang­said­con­sumersmight re­turn the items af­ter open­ing them if the real con­di­tions are not iden­ti­cal to the on­line de­scrip­tions. Mer­chants can’t pro­mote prod­ucts falsely, and the newlawhelps im­prove the stan­dards of dis­play­ing and de­scrib­ing items on­line.

Many e-com­merce web­sites have var­ied stan­dards of re­turn poli­cies. Most on­line mer­chants, such as on­line or­ganic shop tootoo.cn, re­quire that the re­turned items should have un­dam­aged pack­ag­ing and be in the same con­di­tion as when they were sold.

Ama­zon.com Inc said that goods can be re­turned within seven days or 30 days in most cases, depend­ing on the cat­e­gory of items, and the goods should stay in the orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

China’s largest on­line shop­ping por­tal JD.com Inc said the new reg­u­la­tion will fur­ther guar­an­tee con­sumers’ rights, and JD will strictly com­ply with the law. Cur­rently, home ap­pli­ances qual­ify for a 30-day re­turn pol­icy and a 180-day re­turn pol­icy for items with qual­ity is­sues, JD said.

Some on­line re­tail­ers on Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd’s Taobao plat­form said they are wor­ried that the on­line busi­ness will be­come more dif­fi­cult af­ter the newreg­u­la­tion.

“Un­used items with in­tact pack­ag­ing can be re­turned within seven days, and con­sumers should take care of the re­turn­ing ship­ping fees,” said an on­line mer­chant who sells brand name cos­met­ics on Taobao.

“If con­sumers are able to re­turn opened items just be­cause they don’t like them, mer­chants won’t be able to af­ford the costs,” the seller said. Meng Jing this story.




Work­ers sort parcels at a de­liv­ery com­pany in Fuyang, An­hui prov­ince. The in­dus­try and com­merce reg­u­la­tor said cus­tomers can re­turn opened goods bought on­line within seven days.

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