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Online shop owners fret over revision

Updated: 2013-10-29 09:01
By Xu Wei ( China Daily)

Online shop owners fret over revision

Nearly 1,000 items ordered online await collection by students and staff at Xi'an International Studies University in Shaanxi province last week. Online shopping is increasingly popular in China, pushing legislators to revise the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests. [Photo / China Daily]

Editor's note:

The top legislature on Friday passed the revision to the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, the first amendment of the law in 20 years. From Tuesday, China Daily will feature stories on four consecutive days on the latest changes to the bill.

The revised consumer rights law, which includes a seven-day cooling-off period to return goods for refunds, has raised concerns among online shop owners about potential cost increases.

The revision to the law, which was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, states that people can return goods up to seven days after they receive them by shopping online, by TV or by phone.

The revised law also lists four types of merchandise that cannot be returned - customized products, fresh and perishable products, digital products such as software and online downloadable goods, and newspapers and magazines - in order to prevent abuses.

However, online shop owners, especially those of small- and medium-sized businesses, are concerned about a possible increase in the number of products returned.

"It could be a blow for small- and medium-sized shops, because they do not have the financial capacity to absorb a cost increase," said Lin Nan, who owns a women's clothing shop on Taobao, China's largest online marketplace, in Nantong, Jiangsu province.

Lin said many shop owners on Taobao sell small products, and the policy on returned goods could reduce their profits.

"Many online shop owners are also only working part-time. An increase in returned products would force them to quit, as they would not have enough time to deal with the returns," she said.

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