Thu, May 05, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Cakes sold online lack information: watchdog

BUYER BEWARE:Consumers who buy their Mother’s Day cakes on the Internet might not get the information they need to return problem purchases or use their warranties

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

Ahead of Mother’s Day, the Consumers’ Foundation yesterday released the results of its latest investigation, which showed that more than half the cakes sold in Taiwan over the Internet are not properly labeled with essential information.

The consumer rights watchdog said that many people would order Mother’s Day cakes over the Internet to celebrate the holiday on Sunday, but the foundation’s recent survey of 20 online cake shops found that 11 (55 percent) do not provide important information, such as contact information that consumers may need in the event that there are problems with their purchase.

The foundation found that while none of the online stores provided complete information, more than half of the stores did not contain any phone numbers, addresses or e-mail addresses on their Web sites, so that customers would have nowhere to turn if they received defective products or if the delivery was late.

Three out of four online stores did not detail what actions would be taken to follow up with consumer disputes, which the foundation said was the single most commonly neglected measure taken by businesses.

Sixty-five percent of the online stores did not provide any information on warranties, while 40 percent of the businesses did not provide customers with a grace period during which they could re-consider their purchases and make changes without penalty, the foundation said.

Foundation chairperson Joann Su (蘇錦霞) said that despite the high prices that some businesses charge consumers — Mother’s Day cakes can cost more than NT$1,800 — businesses do not hold themselves to a high standard for -protecting consumers’ rights.

Although online shopping has been around for some time, few people are aware of their consumer rights when they purchase items on the Internet, the consumer rights watchdog said.

Although Article 19 of the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法) stipulates that 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 — ie, through mail order, direct order, TV infomercials and the Internet — many online stores do not clearly state this on their Web site, the foundation said.

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