Online shopping is widely used not only in western countries but also in Asian countries like Japan and China. In China alone, the online shopping sector is rapidly increasing. A lot of consumers in the country use it to get a hassle-free shopping. However, aside from its convenience, it has become the largest target of consumer complaint in the service industry.
According to two consumer rights groups in China, consumer complaint starts to rise since 2013. The China Consumers’ Association explained that Internet access and mobile telecommunications have helped the online shopping industry to rise swiftly. However, even though it has been widely used by a lot of consumers, it has received almost half of all the consumer complaint in the sector.
The China Association for Quality Promotion has received an enormous rate of complaint about online services, especially shopping. The association handles the protection of the consumer rights. The customers file their complaint about receiving fake items, incomplete orders, fraud transactions, getting involved in a scam, and other problems.
Rising problem of online shopping
The China National Institute of Standardization has released a report about the intense competition in the industry of online retailing. They said that the companies in the sector have failed to yield the necessary improvements in their service standards.
China has a fast-developing e-commerce market. According to Wu Jingming, a professor of consumer rights law at China University of Political Science and Law, the country’s e-commerce sector has a big potential because a lot of consumers have patronized the industry due to its convenience. China has the world’s largest number of participants in the sector due to its big population. However, it also receives a high number of consumer complaint.
Wu said that the online shopping industry was built on the framework of self-regulation. It works even without the guidelines and regulations from authorities. There is more room for activities in the online shopping industry that infringe upon consumer rights. The consumers cannot solve the disputes using the traditional channels so what they can only do is to file a complaint and seek help.
Improvement for China’s consumer rights law
The China Consumer’s Association conducted a survey about this issue. Under the law that gives customers seven days to return goods for refunds, around 20 percent of consumers failed to protect their rights. Online shopping platforms also failed to provide accurate contact information for the sellers, and most importantly—their customers.
Tang Wanjin, the vice-president of China National Institute of Standardization, said that the country’s service sector is made up of many small and medium-sized companies which hindered the improvement of standards. He also said that China lacks a quality system in the service sector to push for the improvement of services.
Wu suggests that the country needs a law exclusively for the e-commerce industry. He also suggests that the penalties must increase, especially for the companies with a huge number consumer complaint. The companies must pay or compensate the customers for infringing consumer rights.
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