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Hong Kong Customs tackles case of suspected unfair trade practices under civil compliance-based mechanism

16 June 2017


The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED), after obtaining consent from the Secretary for Justice, has accepted a written undertaking made under the civil compliance-based mechanism of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO) by a mini-storage facility suspected of applying a false trade description to a service supplied to a consumer.

Customs officers conducted a test-buy operation at a mini-storage facility in June 2016 and found a staff member made a false claim on the area of the mini-storage in selling storage rental service to a customer. The mini-storage facility was suspected of applying a false trade description to a service supplied to a consumer under Section 7A(1)(a) of the TDO.

The C&ED launched an investigation into the case. The mini-storage facility was co-operative in the course of investigation and proposed to undertake in writing not to continue or repeat the conduct concerned and agreed to take remedial measures. After making a full assessment of the proposal, the C&ED accepted the undertakings for a period of two years under the TDO upon obtaining consent from the Secretary for Justice. The C&ED today (June 16) uploaded the undertaking to Customs' homepage (www.customs.gov.hk/en/customs_notices/undertake/index.html).

The C&ED spokesman stressed that if the trader breaches any terms of the undertaking, the C&ED might withdraw the acceptance of the undertaking pursuant to the TDO, to be followed by investigation and legal proceedings.

Under Section 7A(1)(a) of the TDO, any trader who applies a false trade description to a service supplied to a consumer commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

Under Section 30L of the TDO, a civil compliance-based mechanism has been put in place to encourage compliance by traders and to settle matters concerned expeditiously. Based on the consideration of the nature, actual circumstances and relevant factors, the C&ED may accept an undertaking from the traders involved after obtaining written consent from the Secretary for Justice.

Members of the public may report any suspected violations of the TDO to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

 

Ends/Friday, June 16, 2017

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