Inquiry to protect consumer rights

Updated 2017-03-01 09:28:52 Shanghai Daily

The Shanghai People's Congress yesterday launched a special inquiry into the protection of consumer rights, focusing on online shopping, tourism, prepaid cards and education.

These sectors are the cause of most complaints, the congress said yesterday.

The inquiry will last through this year and will look at the enforcement of consumer rights legislation that came into effect two years ago.

Government departments must report a self-evaluation by May 15.

The congress will conduct open and secret inspections and seek opinions from government departments, companies, industry associations and consumer representatives until June.

Independent organizations will be invited to conduct surveys on the effectiveness of regulations and to analyze problems.

A preliminary report will be submitted by June.

And the inquiry will continue through the year to see how changes work and if more are needed. The Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce says 127,000 complaints and 56,000 tip-offs have been received since January last year.

It helped consumers recover about 150 million yuan (US.8 million). About half the complaints were about online shopping.

The administration has closed 2,751 websites in two years and issued fines of almost 10 million yuan over 3,368 illegal transactions.

"There are also emerging businesses on the Internet, such as online platforms for taxi hailing and tour guide booking, which brought new challenges in administration as they are combined online but everywhere offline," said Hong Hao, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress.

This year, Didi Chuxing taxi-hailing was ordered to remove its function offering tips to drivers after consumers complained it had encouraged drivers to cherry-pick passengers.

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