Beauty and fitness contract cooling period consultation threshold 3,000 yuan Government advocates 3 or 7 days Qiu Tenghua: Looking forward to changing the business
The business and beauty industry’s business practices have caused many complaints and disputes in the past. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau announced yesterday that it will consult the public for a three-month period on the establishment of a statutory cooling-off period for the consumer contracts of the two industries. However, the proposal does not include prepayments of less than 3,000 yuan. contract. After the consultation, the Government intends to introduce into the Legislative Council the bill to implement the cooling-off period in the 2019/20 legislative year.
The Secretary for Commerce and Industry, Mr Edward Yau, said that the beauty industry and fitness services industry under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance had received a large number of consumer complaints. The Administration therefore decided to introduce a cooling-off period to enhance consumer protection. At the same time, it is expected to change the ecology of the trade, reduce disputes and avoid The black sheep has caused the public to lose confidence in the industry and affect legitimate businesses.
Manicure massage to improve hair loss can be exempted
The consultation paper proposes that the cooling-off period applies to the beauty industry and fitness services industry, with a pre-payment of $3,000 or above, but exempts merchants who only provide nail, massage and hair loss services, as well as public hospitals and clinics, government operating facilities, schools and Services provided by educational institutions, etc.
As for the number of days of the cooling-off period, the Commerce and Economics Bureau has thrown out two schemes, namely, a three-day cooling-off period and a seven-day-day refund period, and seven calendar days of the cooling-off period and 14 calendar days of the refund period. During the cooling-off period, the contract will be cancelled in writing to the merchant, and the refund period will be counted from the date of notification. In addition, the merchants are required to provide the Client with a “Cancellation Notice" before the contract is concluded. Otherwise, the cooling-off period will be automatically extended to a maximum of three months. All future contractual arrangements for exemption and change of the cooling-off period will have no legal effect.
Instalment payment must be deducted 5% administrative fee
The document also provides advice on refund arrangements. Consumers can pay in full in cash. If a non-cash method (such as a credit card) is used for one-off payment, the total amount of the transaction will be deducted by 3% for administrative expenses; instalments will be deducted by 5%. fee. As for consumers who request a refund after using some services during the calm period, merchants can charge for these services, but they must be calculated on a pro-rata basis with reference to the total amount of the contract. For merchants to refuse refunds, consumers can recover losses through civil litigation; or ask the Consumer Council to assist in mediation, or they can complain to the Customs, and the Customs investigates and issues an enforcement notice.
Last year, the Consumer Council recommended that in addition to the fitness and beauty industries, the Government should also make non-invited contracts (such as door sales and street stand-up sales), remote contracts (such as telephone and mail order), and time sharing contracts for business offices. A cooling-off period was set up, but it was not included in this consultation.
The Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Industry (Commerce, Industry and Tourism), Li Minjun, explained that beauty and fitness services accounted for the most complaints involving intimidating business activities, up to 77%; time sharing complaints only accounted for about 10%. Since the cooling-off period is a new arrangement, I hope to focus and step by step. She stressed that it will remain flexible in the future and consider incorporating it into other industries in the form of subsidiary legislation. As for why the cooling-off period only applies to contracts of $3,000 or more, she explained that the amount has covered 90% of the complaints. Lin Dingguo, chairman of the Consumer Council, said that consultation is a “big step" in protecting consumers’ rights and interests. It is agreed to focus on the industries that are most in need of protection, step by step.
Yuan Haiwen, deputy spokesperson for the Democratic Party’s consumer rights policy, said that in principle, it would support the mandatory cooling-off legislation as soon as possible, but believe that online shopping and timely sharing should also be regulated. He added that some large prepaid services, such as the cooling-off period of more than 100,000 yuan, should be increased to 14 days. The member of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, Mai Meijuan, believes that the amount of advance payment should not be restricted, and transactions below 3,000 yuan should also be covered.