Your rights if you’re let down when buying online
It happens to thousands of people every day – you order an item online – and it just never shows. Here’s what to do it happens to you
Have you ever had a purchasing nightmare after trying to bag a bargain from a trader in China? Well you’re not alone. Jean from Bridport purchased a Rolex watch from a Chinese trader – it arrived on time but was not a Rolex. Graham from Medway spotted Nike Air trainers on eBay at a greatly reduced price so bought five pairs. They never arrived and the Chinese trader failed to respond to any messages.
The allure of these deals means problems with traders from China have become commonplace. You’ll find lots of information online, on websites such as Citizens Advice, about consumer rights and overseas purchases. But none of these guides provide advice in relation to China.
What are your rights if it happens to you?
The UK has some of the best consumer protection laws in the world but none will help you if you purchase from a Chinese trader. You will therefore have to turn to the local laws in China.
The good news here is that the Chinese government announced new consumer protection laws in 2014, which provide the following rules:
- In allegations of counterfeiting, the onus of proof is now on the retailer to prove their innocence for the first six months after the sale, rather than the consumer to prove wrongdoing, as previously.
- Penalties for fraud and false advertising have been increased.
- Retailers are now required to accept goods for return within seven days of purchase unless agreed otherwise.
- For online and other types of delivery purchases, consumers are not required to provide a reason for returns.
The bad news is that while the Chinese can clearly come up with what seems to be sensible laws, they haven’t a clue about enforcement. You can take your complaint to the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC), which oversees consumer protection in China. But you’ll have more chance of winning the lottery than you will of a successful outcome.
Should you buy from China?
NO – not unless it’s from a large well-known retailer/manufacturer or you use your credit card or PayPal and are therefore afforded some protection if there is a problem with the purchase. If you pay by credit card, at least you’re protected by Section 75.
Dean Dunham – Sunday Mirror
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