Consumer online rights protected
Online shopping and services garnered nearly 11,400 individual consumer complaints in Shanghai last year, up 18 percent from the previous year, with truth in advertising and the quality of products triggering the most consumer grievances.
The Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce, the city’s market watchdog, published the figures on March 14, a day ahead of the International Day for Protecting Consumers’ Rights. The total number of consumer complaints filed with the administration hit 170,000 last year, a record high.
Most individual anger focused on quality, post-sales service and maintenance, and contracts, with high rises in complaints also over the quality of contracts and allegations of exaggerated or misleading advertisements.
In one high-profile case, a supplier of “agri-tainment” — where people can pick their own vegetables, feed livestock and eat in farmhouses — called Juyuan located in the town of Qingcun in Fengxian district promoted itself as “the rural version of Disneyland”, saying it would officially open on May 1.
The company ran a subscription service on the popular messaging app WeChat and told consumers that whoever forwarded a promotional ad of the service to a friend twitter) have become almost two most important platforms for business promotion. Companies must steer clear of legal and ethical violations and consumers must be ever vigilant about fabricated information,” Zhang said.
In another case, a woman surnamed Huang who has been selling cosmetics imported from South Korea on China’s largest consumer-to-consumer shopping platform, Taobao.com, since 2013 with sales volume totaling $ 16,600 was slapped with an administrative penalty for failing to provide the sources of her purchases.
To help consumers better deal with disputes over purchases made in online shopping malls, the China Consumers’ Association on May 15 established a special green channel, where consumers can file complaints to local consumer associations directly and the complaints will be transferred to postservice department of the e-commerce business.
“Without such a green channel, a consumer either needs to go to the city where the operator of the online platform is registered for complaints or wait for consumer associations in his or her city to pass on the complaint,” said Zhang Zheng, an information officer with the China Consumers’ Association.
Altogether, 17 e-commerce platforms, including JD.com, Taobao.com, and vip.com, are included in the green channel service.