Hong Kong Customs combats unfair trade practices at online shop

26 Apr 2023

​Hong Kong Customs yesterday (April 25) arrested a man suspected of engaging in wrongly accepting payment when selling tailor-made cakes on the Internet, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

Customs earlier received a report alleging that an online shop, when selling tailor-made cakes, failed to supply the ordered goods within the specified date or a reasonable period after accepting payment from a customer. Also, no refund was offered.

After investigation, Customs officers yesterday arrested a 44-year-old man suspected to be connected with the case. He is the person-in-charge of the online shop concerned.

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

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

Customs reminds traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO. 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.

Customs appeals to consumers that they should stay vigilant in regard to online shopping. They should procure products at reputable shops and keep the transaction receipts and related records, which can become the basic information in case a complaint is lodged in the future.

Moreover, customers could choose payment methods such as "cash on delivery" or "pay deposit first and then pay the balance" when ordering goods on the Internet. If the goods are delivered by a courier, consumers should check thoroughly first and then settle the payment after confirming that the goods are in good condition.

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/Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Previous Page