Hong Kong’s fifth wave saw 82 per cent spike in consumer complaints related to online shopping in first quarter of year

  • The number of grievances connected to web procuring soared to 2,669 in the first three months of 2022, up from 1,463 in the exact same interval final calendar year
  • The surge in challenges with foodstuff-ordering platforms was a single of the primary aspects guiding the over-all rise

Hong Kong’s fifth wave of Covid-19 infections fuelled an 82 per cent surge in the number of on-line-searching-relevant problems filed to the city’s consumer watchdog in excess of the first a few months of the year.

Figures provided by the Shopper Council earlier this week demonstrate that the amount of complaints associated to internet buying soared to 2,669 in the 1st quarter of 2022, up from 1,463 in the identical period very last 12 months.

Complaints linked to on the web orders for foodstuff and drink rose by 111 for every cent, to 236, for the duration of the similar time body.

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There were 210 complaints about online buys of electrical appliances, 214 pertaining to clothing and apparel, and 269 linked to eateries and entertainment services.

Francis Ho, head of the council’s complaints and suggestions division, stated the surge in problems with food items-purchasing platforms was a person of the principal factors driving this year’s general increase.

“In most of these issues, customers put their orders on the internet, but no shipping and delivery was produced to them,” he mentioned.

With malls mostly closed, Hongkongers have become more accustomed to shopping from home during the pandemic. Photo: Nora Tam

© Offered by South China Morning Put up
With malls typically shut, Hongkongers have turn out to be much more accustomed to purchasing from dwelling through the pandemic. Photograph: Nora Tam

Several of the other complaints obtained were about delays and value disputes, while other people were being similar to the quality, color and sizing of goods not corresponding to their descriptions on the web.

During the pandemic, Hongkongers have develop into more accustomed to shopping from house, with lots of platforms seizing the possibility to build viral buying developments, in accordance to the watchdog.

Ho cited 1 grievance in which a purchaser paid HK$1,000 (US$128) to buy two king crabs, but no delivery was created. The on the net “trader” could not be contacted.

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In Hong Kong, individuals who have disputes with on the net traders may perhaps look for aid from the watchdog. The council would aid complainants and traders to resolve their disputes. In situations that include suspected unlawful conduct, the council would look for consent from complainants and refer the situations to regulation enforcement authorities, this kind of as the police drive, for follow-up.

According to police, experiences of on the internet purchasing fraud rose by 268 for every cent to 6,120 previous calendar year from 1,663 in 2017. The quantity of dollars scammers built has also greater, heading from HK$29.7 million in 2019 to HK$71.5 million in 2021. The power managed 6,678 instances in 2020 involving HK$122 million in losses.

Previous 12 months, a local health-related provides company was swindled out of HK$15 million. Police commenced investigation following obtaining a report from its director in February previous 12 months.

The investigation showed the firm’s director met two Taiwanese girls and a person Thai person via mates in August 2020, and he was instructed the trio could enable get 600,000 boxes of surgical gloves from Thailand, according to the power.

As instructed, the director transferred HK$15 million into a financial institution account in Thailand in September and October. He realised it was a scam as no products have been sent to the business and he was not able to get hold of the 3 suspects.

A HKTVmall physical outlet at Yau Tong. Police have urged consumers to patronise reputable online sellers and trade face to face whenever possible. Photo: Dickson Lee

© Supplied by South China Morning Submit
A HKTVmall bodily outlet at Yau Tong. Police have urged customers to patronise highly regarded on-line sellers and trade face to encounter anytime attainable. Photo: Dickson Lee

Superintendent Lover Chun-yip of the force’s cybersecurity and technology crime bureau said on the net scammers posing as sellers supplied immediate antigen exam kits and medication to address fevers in February in an try to trick citizens into shopping for the products and solutions, which were not sent.

“As a result of the stabilised supply of anti-epidemic goods a short while ago, fraudsters then specific victims by providing treats, drinks and electrical appliances,” he explained.

He explained victims realised they were conned when they did not obtain the products right after building payments and they were being not able to call the “sellers”.

Lover claimed ripped off money was commonly funnelled out of Hong Kong, generating it tricky for law enforcement to observe it down.

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He also warned that social media internet pages applied by scammers to promote a wide variety of products and entice targets were being often changing their names and contents in an hard work to cheat additional customers.

Final year, the bureau mounted four important functions towards on the web purchasing fraud with a variety of law enforcement districts and arrested 223 men and women in relationship with 1,155 conditions involving HK$7 million.

Police urged consumers to patronise reputable on-line sellers and trade experience to face anytime probable.

These in question about suspicious on-line actions are recommended to call the Anti-Scam Helpline at 18222 or to report crimes to police.

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