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City consumer council opens e-commerce office

THE Shanghai Consumer Council has set up a new office as part of the effort to tackle increasing complaints about online shopping.

The e-commerce office is the 12th special division of its kind under the council. The 11 other divisions focus on protecting consumer rights in fields like tourism, food and cosmetics.

Between January and August, the council received reports on 12,041 disputes about online shopping, a year-on-year increase of 11.2 percent. Last year, officials received 16,585 reports, officials said at a meeting yesterday.

Online sellers were found to mislead customers with false and exaggerated advertising, such as lying about their products being organic.

Some even lured customers to make instant purchases by offering very low prices if customers were first to click a button, but then cancelled the orders without notice.

Poor transportation and after-sale service also counted for a large proportion of the complaints. Online sellers were reported to often blame delivery companies and manufacturers.

The Shanghai Consumer Council began preparing to set up the office in March.

Eight experts in Internet technology were employed to give useful advice and seek ways to better protect customers' rights. Twelve industry leaders, such as travel agency Ctrip, were appointed to play a role in better regulating online shopping.


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