A man in Taipei recently thought he had won a court victory over a 7-Eleven convenience store’s “noise pollution” when he sued the store and won.
However, the store lodged an appeal and the Taiwan High Court overturned the original decision, judging that the noise level — under 30 decibels — was within “acceptable” limits.
The plaintiff, a resident of a second-floor apartment surnamed Chung (鐘) had complained over noises emanating from a 7-Eleven store on the building’s ground level.
Chung said the low-frequency sounds from the store’s refrigeration equipment, freezer units and air conditioner were too noisy, as well as the mechanical “ding-dong” tone when the automatic door opened, which left him unable to fall asleep at night.
Saying the situation had led to him seeking psychiatric help, Chung filed a lawsuit for damages, asking the court to impose a noise ban during nighttime hours.
In the first ruling, Chung won the decision and the court ordered the store to pay NT$200,000 in damages.
It also ruled that the store had to limit low-frequency sounds to 15 decibels or less, from 10pm to 7am daily.
In its appeal, the store demonstrated that the noise generated by its equipment was only 21 decibels, as measured by officials from the Taipei Environmental Protection Agency.
The court ruled that this was within the tolerance level of average individuals, as Taiwan’s legal standard on noise pollution was set at 30 decibels.