Hong Kong Customs combats unfair trade practices at online shop

21 Apr 2023

Hong Kong Customs yesterday (April 20) arrested a man suspected of engaging in wrongly accepting payments when selling model toys online, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

Customs earlier received a number of reports alleging that an online toy shop sold renowned bear-shaped brick-style figurines but failed to supply the ordered goods within the specified date or a reasonable period after accepting payments from customers. Also, no refund was offered.

After investigation, Customs officers arrested a 31-year-old man-in-charge of the online shop suspected to be connected with the case.

Customs has all along been concerned about illegal online sales activities. It has strived to combat unfair trade practices on websites to protect consumer interests.

Under the TDO, it is an offence for a trader to accept payments for a product if at the time of accepting the payments, he does not intend to supply it or intends to supply another materially different product, or if there are no reasonable grounds for believing that he will be able to supply the product at the agreed time or within a reasonable time. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment of five years.

Customs reminded traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO. Traders should not accept advance payments from consumers if they are uncertain whether the pertinent goods or services can be delivered to consumers at the agreed time or within a reasonable time. Before buying a popular product, consumers should pay attention to its supply quantity and supply period, including the announcement made by the brand owners for reference. Also, they should make orders through reputable traders. After purchasing the products, consumers should keep the transaction documents, such as records of communication, receipts of payment, etc, as a basis of a complaint in the future.

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, April 21, 2023

Previous Page