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March 24, 2016

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Website shoppers complain of poor service

THE Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission said yesterday that it received 1,059 complaints regarding the online purchase of goods from overseas in 2015.

A year earlier it received fewer than 250, it said.

One of the people who complained last year was Fang Yuan, who lives in Jing’an District.

She claimed that she ordered two handbags from an unnamed “overseas” supplier through Alipay in December last year, but has yet to receive them.

“I demand a solution,” she said, adding that she had already paid 1,317 yuan (US$200) via Alipay for the goods.

Another woman from the Pudong New Area said she waited “for more than a month” for a bottle of perfume she ordered via

The product was priced at 339 yuan, she said.

Products from the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia are the most popular, the commission revealed.

“An increasing number of Chinese consumers now purchase products from overseas using online shopping sites,” said Tang Jiansheng, its deputy secretary-general.

“People get angry due to problems such as businesses failing to deliver goods on time and products getting lost in delivery,” he added.

Some websites refuse to offer refunds, according to the commission, claiming that different policies and standards regarding online shopping are creating some problems.

Some websites that offer goods from other countries in the world “make random changes, and some others cancel orders, and some others have fake promotions,” it said.

Also, some of the sites don’t offer a seven-day no-questions-asked refund policy, which they do in China, Tang suggested.

This is because there are different product standards for overseas products, he said.

In China, people can get a full refund for goods bought online as long as the items are returned within seven days of purchase and in a condition that makes it possible for them to be resold.

Some overseas businesses that Chinese customers deal with don’t do this, the commission concluded.


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