SAIC strengthens supervision of e-commerce

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To improve protection of consumers and regulate the booming online shopping activities in China, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has newly updated existing rules regulating e-commerce activities. On 26 January 2014, SAIC promulgated the Internet Trading Administrative Measures, which takes effect on 15 March 2014. This is an extension of efforts to improve protection of consumer interests under the new Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests (New Consumer Act), which was recently revised and is to take effect on the same date. Besides the topic of consumer protection, the measures bring in some new elements that strengthen SAIC’s power in this regime. Multinational companies operating in China, particularly those in the B2C businesses, shall pay special attention to the implications of these measures. Below are highlights of some new developments.

For the first time, the New Consumer Act provides for a right of the consumers to regret their purchase conducted via modern means including internet, telephone and email. The measures reiterate such a right in the area of cyber shopping. According to this rule, consumers may — without any cause — return to the vendor the goods they purchased via the internet within seven days as of the purchase. The vendors are obliged to return the purchase price to the consumers within seven days after they received the returned goods. However, such a right to regret does not apply to the goods below…

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