LCQ13: Complaints relating to electrical appliances supplied by traders
Following is a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, to a question by the Hon Albert Chan in the Legislative Council today (June 8):
I have recently received complaints from quite a number of members of the public that when the electrical appliances they bought from retail shops were delivered to their homes for installation by the relevant agents or manufacturers, they found that the goods delivered to them did not meet the descriptions, were very old and of poor quality, and when such electrical appliances broke down and they asked the agents or manufacturers for replacement, their requests were stalled or even refused, causing them to suffer losses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
(a) the number of complaints, broken down by reason of dissatisfaction, received by the Consumer Council (CC) concerning dissatisfaction over electrical appliances supplied by agents or manufacturers in each of the past three years and the names of the agents or manufacturers involved; among them, the name of the agent or manufacturer involved in the highest number of cases;
(b) among the complaint cases in (a), the number of cases which had been successfully handled; among them, the number of cases in which the agents or manufacturers of electrical appliances were willing to replace the goods; and
(c) regarding the cases which could not be successfully handled, whether CC has any measure to assist those members of the public whose interests have been undermined; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
(a) The number and nature of complaints relating to electrical appliances supplied by traders that were received by the Consumer Council in the past three years are set out in Table 1 of the Annex.
For complaints lodged by consumers to the Consumer Council, some may involve poor quality of the goods or services in question, some may arise from misunderstanding or are simply trade disputes, and some may not have sufficient grounds. In addition, as big businesses have higher transaction volume, there may be relatively more complaints. In the light of the above considerations, the number of complaints itself does not necessarily indicate how good or bad a trader's trade practices are. We have hence not set out in the reply the names of the traders involved or that of the trader involved in the most complaints, in order not to mislead readers.
(b) Of the cases referred to above, the number of cases which mediation was successful is set out in Table 2 of the Annex.
Mediation was successful (including replacement of goods) in most of the complaint cases relating to suspected delivery of second-hand goods or goods of poor quality. The relevant figures are set out in Table 3 of the Annex.
(c) Depending on the facts of the cases, consumers may seek assistance under the Consumer Legal Action Fund if mediation of their complaint cases through the Consumer Council was not successful. Serving to protect public interests, the Fund seeks to facilitate consumers to take legal actions in cases involving significant consumer interests through providing financial assistance and legal support.
Separately, the Consumer Council refers to the Customs and Excise Department cases involving suspected application of false trade descriptions to goods. The Department will follow up on these cases in accordance with the provisions on false trade descriptions in the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011