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Hong Kong Customs combats unfair trade practices at vacation club marketing company

7 July 2022


Hong Kong Customs yesterday (July 6) arrested six staff members of a vacation club marketing company suspected of engaging in unfair trade practices for making misleading omissions in the course of selling vacation club membership, in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO).

Customs earlier received information alleging that the salespersons of a vacation club marketing company in Tsim Sha Tsui, in the course of selling vacation club membership, were suspected of omitting or hiding material information from customers that additional charges would be required after paying the membership fee in order to use the relevant services.

Furthermore, the company falsely claimed to a customer in the course of selling that a membership could be offered for free. However, the salespersons revealed that the customer needed to purchase a vacation club membership in a specified amount in order to become a member after the customer has signed the documents. The customer has eventually procured the relevant membership.

After investigation, Customs officers yesterday arrested six female staff members of the company involved who are aged between 21 and 63.

An investigation is ongoing and the six arrested women have been released on bail pending further investigation.

Customs reminds traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO and consumers to procure services at reputable shops.

Under the TDO, any trader who engages in a commercial practice that omits or hides material information or provides material information in a manner that is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely, and as a result causes, or is likely to cause, an average consumer to make a transactional decision, commits an offence of misleading omissions. 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/Thursday, July 7, 2022

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