Hong Kong Customs arrests male staff member of online electronics retailer suspected of engaging in unfair trade practices in sale of air conditioners

14 Oct 2022

Hong Kong Customs on October 12 arrested a male staff member of an online electronics retailer suspected of engaging in wrongly accepting payment when selling air conditioners, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

Customs earlier received information alleging that an online electronics retailer failed to supply air conditioners purchased by customers. Customs officers immediately conducted an investigation and found that customers who had purchased air conditioners were unable to install the products concerned after the retailer concerned suddenly announced business suspension earlier. The retailer also failed to arrange refunds of deposits to the customers.

After a follow-up investigation, Customs officers conducted an enforcement operation and arrested a 35-year-old male staff member of the online electronics retailer connected with the case on October 12.

An investigation is ongoing and the arrested man has been released on bail pending further investigation.

Customs has been paying close attention to the incident and called on members of the public affected by the incident to provide information. As at 10am today (October 14), Customs had received a total of 93 complaints regarding the online electronics retailer, involving 157 air conditioners and deposits amounting to about $580,000.

Customs reminds traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO. Consumers are also reminded to procure electrical appliances at reputable shops.

Under the TDO, any trader commits an offence if at the time of acceptance of payment, the trader intends not to supply the product or intends to supply a materially different product, or there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the trader will be able to supply the product within a specified or reasonable period. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

Members of the public may report any suspected violations of the TDO to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

Ends/Friday, October 14, 2022

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