Beauty shop suspected of violating Trade Descriptions Ordinance with misleading omission

28 May 2015

Hong Kong Customs yesterday (May 27) arrested a beauty shop owner suspected of engaging in unfair trade practices that may contravene the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO). The beauty shop was suspected of not pointing out the need to pay extra charges before providing services to a consumer in the course of business.

Customs earlier received a complaint about additional charges required by a beauty shop after providing nail care services. Investigation by Customs revealed that the beauty shop was suspected to have charged the consumer an additional amount after providing the services on the grounds that the consumer was a non-member. However, the beauty shop did not provide such information to the consumer beforehand for the consumer to make an informed transactional decision. The beauty shop was suspected of violating section 13E "Misleading Omissions" of the TDO. The case is still under investigation and the arrested person has been released on bail pending further investigation.

Customs reminded traders to comply with the legislative requirements to avoid violating the TDO and consumers to shop with prudence and to ask if in doubt.

Under the TDO, a trader engaged in relation to a consumer in a commercial practice who omits or hides material information; provides material information in a manner that is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely; or fails to identify commercial intent, and as a result causes the average consumer to make a transactional decision that the consumer would not have made otherwise, commits an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

The department will continue to crack down on unfair trade practices for protection of consumer rights.

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

Ends/Thursday, May 28, 2015

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