The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) launched an operation codenamed "Blue Bird" today (April 27) to step up consumer protection work during the Labour Day Golden Week period.
The Deputy Head of the Trade Descriptions Investigation Bureau, Ms Shum Mei-chun, and the Divisional Commander of Unfair Trade Practice Investigation, Mr Lau Yuk-lung, said that during the operation, the C&ED would step up patrols at shopping spots, dried seafood and ginseng shops as well as jewellery shops in shopping areas such as Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay. The C&ED will also remind retail shops and workers in the tourist industry to abide by the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).
According to the TDO, any trader who adopts unfair trade practices, including making false trade descriptions in relation to goods and misleading omissions, aggressive commercial practices, as well as "bait and switch" practices, commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.
Customs reminds shoppers that they should have a good understanding of a product's specifications before purchase. They should do price comparisons and patronise shops with a good reputation. They are also reminded to check carefully the price and unit of measurement before making payment and to retain a receipt after purchase.
Members of the public can also go through the recently published "Booklet on cases under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap 362) 2nd Edition". Presenting case details and court sentences of successful prosecutions in an articulate manner, the booklet will enable readers to find out more about the various types of unfair trade practices. It also enables both traders and consumers to learn about the TDO.
The e-version of the booklet has been uploaded to the home page of the C&ED's website (www.customs.gov.hk/en/home/index.html).
Members of the public may report suspected violations of the TDO to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182, or dedicated crime-reporting email account (email@example.com).
Ends/Friday, April 27, 2018