New China Consumer Protection Law enters into force

According to the Chairman?s Order No. 7 of the People?s Republic of China, the newly revised Law of the Peoples Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Consumers (Consumer Protection Law) (1) became effective on 15 March 2014.

According to the Chairman?s Order No. 7 of the People?s Republic of China, the newly revised Law of the Peoples Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Consumers (Consumer Protection Law) (1) became effective on 15 March 2014. The new law supersedes the previous Consumer Protection Law enacted in 1993.

The revision of the new Consumer Protection Law was made to increase consumer protection through regulating business practices, formalising a market surveillance system as well as strengthening consumers? rights. The law sets out an array of penalty levels in case a business does not comply with the requirements under this law.

Highlights of the Consumer Protection Law:
> Outlaw any unfair and unreasonable business practices and business transaction terms

> Ban the use of misleading information regarding products/services? quality, function, use and expiry date

> If a business sells a product or service through fraudulent means, it should compensate the consumer 3 times the amount of the purchase price (previously 1 times the purchase price). Minimum compensation is CNY 500

> If a business is aware of product defects which may cause health and safety concerns, the business is required to inform the regulatory authority and the consumers. The business also should stop selling, provide warning, recall, safely treat, destroy, or stop manufacturing the products concerned. In case of a recall, the business shall bear all relevant costs paid by the consumers

> Consumers may request a refund or repair of a product if the product does not meet quality requirements

> Consumers may request to return a product within seven days of receiving the product without any reason, if the purchase was made through the internet, television, telephone or mail order (except a selection of goods such as tailor-made or perishable products, downloaded software or digital media and delivered newspaper and magazines).

The Consumer Protection Law includes provisions for The Quality Spot-Check Measures for Circulated Products (Spot-Check Measures) (2) and the Settlement Measures on Consumer Complaints (3) by the Administration for Industry & Commerce (Complaint Measures). Both of these measures became effective on 15 March 2014.

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