The Government is committed to safeguarding the legitimate interests of consumers, both visitors and local residents alike. Laws are in place to ensure that consumer products supplied in Hong Kong are safe, compliant with reasonable safety standards, and offered in accordance with good trade practices. Measures are also implemented to deal with consumer complaints and facilitate consumer access to legal remedies.
This bureau has policy responsibility over consumer protection legislation including –
- The Weights and Measures Ordinance (Cap. 68), which prohibits the possession and use of false or defective weighing and measuring equipment for the purpose of trade. It also requires that goods sold by weight or measure in the course of trade must be sold by net weight or measure.
- The Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance (Cap. 456) , which requires manufacturers, importers and suppliers of consumer goods to ensure that the goods they supply for local consumption are reasonably safe. Subsidiary legislation under the ordinance requires warning or caution on the packaging or labels to be provided in both English and Chinese.
- The Toys and Children’s Products Safety Ordinance (Cap. 424), which requires manufacturers, importers and suppliers of toys and specified children’s products to ensure that the goods they supply for local consumption satisfy the stipulated safety standards or requirements. Subsidiary legislation under the ordinance requires warning or caution on the packaging or labels to be provided in both English and Chinese, and stipulates the concentration limits of some phthalates in certain toys and children’s products.
- The Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap. 362), which prohibits common unfair trade practices deployed against consumers of goods and services, including false trade descriptions, misleading omissions, aggressive commercial practices, bait advertising, bait-and-switch, and wrongly accepting payment. Subsidiary legislation under the ordinance requires retailers to issue invoices or receipts containing prescribed product information to buyers of gold, platinum, diamond, natural fei cui and designated electronic products.
The aforementioned legislation is enforced by the Customs and Excise Department. Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, the Communications Authority has concurrent jurisdiction to enforce against unfair trade practices of licensees under the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106) and the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap. 562) that are directly connected with the provision of telecommunications or broadcasting services.
The Consumer Council
The Consumer Council was established in 1974 and is a statutory body incorporated under the Consumer Council Ordinance (Cap. 216) to protect and promote the interests of consumers of goods, services and immovable property. The Council conciliates consumer disputes, disseminates information and advice for consumer education, conducts product tests and studies, and publishes a consumer magazine “CHOICE”. It also monitors trade practices, and encourages business and professional associations to establish codes of practice.
The Government provides recurrent subvention to the Council to support its work and appoints the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and up to 20 other members to the Council from a wide cross-section of the community.
Consumers that have disputes with traders and are unable to come to an agreement may lodge a complaint with the Council. The Council acts as a conciliator and assists consumers in resolving disputes with the traders.
The Council also administers the Consumer Legal Action Fund, which was established in 1994 to facilitate consumer access to legal remedies by providing legal assistance to consumers in cases involving significant consumer interests.