HK, S Korea to protect buyers

CONSUMER watchdogs in Hong Kong and South Korea (南韓) signed a joint agreement to protect consumers in both places as tourism and online purchases grow.

The Hong Kong Consumer Council (香港消費者委員會) and Korea Consumer Agency (韓國消費者院) signed a memorandum of understanding to provide a new mechanism for handling complaints in a more efficient and effective way.

If Hong Kong residents have any complaints about goods and services purchased in South Korea or online, including plastic surgery, they can contact the Hong Kong watchdog, which will act as mediator and pass their complaints and requests to the Korean agency, which will follow-up the complaints and contact the merchants in the country, and vice versa. Once the matter is resolved, it will be communicated to the referring agency, which in turn will inform the complainants.

The council said factors such as tight itineraries and language barriers may have deterred consumers from complaining immediately. But there is nothing much they can do when they return. The new agreement helps consumers to seek help through the respective agency even when they return home.

Online shopping between Hong Kong and South Korea has mushroomed but differences in languages, cultures, legislation and business practices have prevented online consumers from achieving satisfactory settlement in cross-border disputes.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 1 June 2017)

MoU signed between Hong Kong and Korea

Korean Consumer Agency