The Consumer Protection Commission yesterday said nearly half of the calls received by the commission during the Lunar New Year holidays were inquiries or disputes about products returned within seven days of purchase, with several instances of consumers misinterpreting legal protections.
During the holiday earlier this month, the commission received 77 inquiries, of which 36 had to do with disputes and questions regarding goods purchased during the holidays, but that needed to be returned or exchanged within seven days of their purchase. Twenty-four calls involved a customer asking whether a product could be returned regardless of the reason, as long as it occurred within seven days after its purchase, the commission said.
Of the 24 calls asking about returns and exchange policies, four concerned purchases made via mail order and one via telephone marketing, which showed that some businesses violated regulations.
The commission said many people were confused by a clause in the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法) that says consumers have a seven-day grace period to return or exchange goods purchased through channels in which the user may not have the chance to examine the product ahead of the purchase — such as through mail order, direct order, TV infomercials and the Internet.
Many people misconstrue the clause by believing it includes purchases made in stores in which consumers were able to check the product before buying, the commission said. Many people complained they were not able to obtain returns or exchanges for purchases made in physical stores and called the commission, consumer ombudsman Wang Teh-ming (王德明) said.