Fri, Aug 19, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Matrimonial agency inspections discover little bliss in Taipei

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

About 90 percent of matrimonial agencies in Taipei City appear to violate consumer protection regulations with vague membership and fee policies, the Taipei City Government said yesterday as it released the results of a recent inspection of such agencies.

City officials urged consumers to be cautious when seeking matchmaking services.

A recent random inspection of 10 of the 28 agencies in the city found that nine were violating the Consumer Protection Law (消費者保護法) by failing to offer a free-trial period or a refund policy, Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), director of the city’s Law and Regulation Commission, said at Taipei City Hall.

The Department of Civil Affairs, which conducted the inspection, found a big discrepancy in the agencies’ service charges as well, with membership fees ranging from NT$4,800 (US$166) per month to an all-inclusive package costing NT$160,000.

Consumer Ombudsman Chen Bi-chu (陳碧珠) said disputes over refunds or the lack of written contracts were among the top consumer complaints about matrimonial agencies.

“Some women, for example, requested a membership refund because they were not satisfied with the men they were introduced to by the agencies. Consumers should have the right to cancel or end a contract and these agencies should offer a clear refund policy,” she said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the city was concerned about the rights of its single residents and said it would demand those agencies found to be breaking the law to meet regulations by the end of this month.

The Consumer Ombudsman Office has received 70 complaints about matrimonial agencies since 2007, city statistics show.

Yeh said the commission would help the agencies meet standards, and those that failed to follow its instructions could be fined between NT$60,000 and NT$1.5 million.

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