Revision protects buyers of products online
Online traders who fake sales data or user feedback in an attempt to mislead consumers can now be fined up to 2 million yuan ($301,400) and loose their business licenses, under a change in the law.
The revised Anti-Unfair Competition Law was adopted on Saturday at the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the top legislature, after a third reading.
“Regulating online market competition is a highlight of the revision,” said Yang Hongcan, director of Anti-Monopoly and Anti-Unfair Competition Enforcement Bureau of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Yang said he welcomes the benefits brought by online shopping, but he noted various emerging problems in the market that have attributed to unregulated behavior.
“We tried to keep the interests of vendors and customers in mind while revising the law, because we need to keep fair market order while encouraging innovation in the cyberspace,” he said.
The potential fine for online traders who fake sales data or user feedback in an attempt to mislead consumers
Yang said the revised law, which is scheduled to take effect in January, will better solve problems of online purchases, especially on the world’s biggest annual one-day online shopping festival, Singles Day, which falls on Nov 11.
Vendors or third-party companies that fabricate transactions to help promote goods and services, release false advertising, or delete customers’ negative comments to attract or defraud consumers will be fined from 200,000 to 1 million yuan, under the revision.
Violators in serious cases will face a fine of 2 million yuan and their business licenses will be revoked.
In addition, vendors who use packaging, names, decorations or websites of or similar to those of famous or influential products to deceive customers will be also fined, it added.
The revised law urges industrial associations to uphold market order by increasing self-discipline, and it stipulates that supervision and inspection department officials may not disclose trade secrets of entities they investigate.
Yang Zhen, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, said the law is better developed after three reviews and will effectively safeguard consumers’ rights.
Yang Heqing, an official of the committee, added that the clarified responsibilities of business operators in the revision also protect their rights and interests.