Shopping sting finds retailers flout online law

Updated 2017-03-13 09:28:57 Shanghai Daily

More than 10 online shopping sites, including Carrefour and Auchan, were yesterday criticized by authorities for breaching the mandated “seven-days-no-questions-asked” refund rule, after a sting operation.

Customers are entitled to a full refund on most purchases within seven days if the returned goods are in a condition good enough that they can be re-sold, the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission said.

Shoppers do not have to give a reason, under the law.

Some items — including perishables, newspapers and magazines, bespoke items, audio-visual products that have been unwrapped and computer software — are not covered.

The commission secretly bought 224 items, including home appliances, clothing, shoes, hats, bags, toys, furnishings and home textiles from 32 shopping websites last month to see if the laws were followed.

But some, including Carrefour and Auchan, were found to ask consumers to personally come into a store for a refund, which creates a barrier to customers exercising their rights, the commission said.

The provisions are included in China's consumer rights protection law implemented in 2014 and also Shanghai's consumer protection regulation which came into force a year later.

The rules require buyers to confirm they are aware of the law when they make their purchase.

A tightening of the law from this Wednesday says online sites should not do anything to restrict a consumer's right to a refund.

Another 10 shopping sites including C&A, Zara, Esprit, Levi's, Swarovski and adidas were found to be unclear on the refund process.

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