The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED), took enforcement action earlier after investigation into a case and arrested three beauticians of a beauty parlour suspected of engaging in aggressive commercial practices in the sale of beauty service to a consumer, thereby contravening the unfair trade practices provisions under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).
The C&ED had earlier received a complaint about beauticians of a beauty parlour suspected of having exerted undue influence in the course of sale of beauty service to a customer. The beauticians claimed that the customer had suffered from infectious disease which could incur pathological changes or even mutate into cancer and they hence advised the consumer to purchase expensive beauty service. The beauticians concerned were suspected of having committed the offence of engaging in aggressive commercial practices under the TDO.
After in-depth investigation, the C&ED took enforcement action on February 11 and arrested three beauticians, aged between 29 and 49, who were the beauty director, the regional manageress and a therapist. The relevant prepayment amount of the case added up to over $100,000. The case is still under investigation and the arrested persons have been put on police bail pending further investigation.
A trader commits an offence of engaging in aggressive commercial practices under the TDO if he or she uses harassment, coercion or undue influence to impair the consumer's freedom of choice or conduct in relation to a product which causes or is likely to cause the consumer to make a transactional decision. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.
The Group Head (Unfair Trade Practice Investigation), Mr Hui Wai-ming, today (February 13) reminded beauty service traders and beauticians to abide by the law and not exert harassment, coercion or undue influence on consumers in selling beauty service. Consumers must be well aware of their genuine needs and affordability, and should convey their firm rejection to traders unequivocally if they have no intention to purchase.
Members of the public may report suspected cases to the C&ED by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Friday, February 13, 2015