Beauty shop violates Trade Descriptions Ordinance by hiding material information

10 Apr 2014

A director of a beauty shop prosecuted by the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) earlier for hiding material information from customers pleaded guilty today (April 10) at the Kowloon City Magistracy for violating the unfair trade practices provisions under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO) and was fined $4,000 for the offence.

The C&ED earlier received four complaints from the public against a beauty shop suspected of engaging in unfair trade practices to mislead consumers. Investigation by the C&ED revealed that the beauty shop sold prepaid beauty services to consumers but hid the material information that the beauty shop was planning to terminate its business and sell all its beauty equipment and clients to another beauty shop in a short period of time. The beauty shop did not provide such material information to consumers before they could make an informed transactional decision. The beauty shop was suspected of violating section 13E "Misleading Omissions" of the TDO. The prepayment of the four cases added up to a total of $31,750.

The amended TDO came into effect on July 19, 2013, to prohibit unfair trade practices, including misleading omissions. Traders run the risk of making misleading omissions if they fail to give consumers sufficient material information about goods or services for making an informed transactional decision. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

The C&ED reminds traders that they have the primary responsibility of providing accurate, truthful and pertinent information in respect of their products to consumers in a clear, intelligible and timely manner to enable consumers to make informed transactional decisions.

The C&ED closely monitors any violations of the TDO and will take appropriate enforcement actions once any trader is found to have employed unfair trade practices in the sale of goods and services.

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

Ends/Thursday, April 10 2014

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