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China considers changes to consumer rights law

2013-08-27 11:22 Xinhua Web Editor: Sun Tian

China's lawmakers are deliberating changes to the consumer rights law dealing with unconditional returns and false advertising.

The draft amendment to the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, which took effect 20 years ago, was tabled for a second reading at the ongoing bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which runs from Monday to Friday.

Lawmakers will specify items that call for a seven-day period allowing shoppers to unconditionally return merchandise for refunds. The previous draft ensures e-shoppers' rights to unilaterally terminate contracts.

Some legislators said such regulations should be improved to prevent customers from abusing their rights and mitigate the impact on sellers.

The new draft will clarify certain products not suitable for unconditional return. These products include custom-tailored items, fresh and perishable goods, software and audio-visual products with the sealing removed by customers. Newspapers and magazines are also excluded from the regulation on unconditional returns.

Consumers shall return products within seven days after raising the issue to sellers. Sellers do not have to pay transportation fees, according to the latest draft.

The draft also calls for supporting consumer associations in protecting consumers' rights and stipulates that government at all levels shall provide assistance, including funds, to the associations.

Some lawmakers also voiced concerns about commercial fraud, including deceptive advertising and production of fake goods.

Those designing, making and publicizing false advertising of products or services that affect consumers' health and have caused harm should bear joint liability, the draft said.

The products include but are not limited to food and drugs.

Advertising spokespersons should also bear responsibility if they participate in false advertising and cause harm to customers, it added.

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