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Judges issue price tampering warning ahead of shopping festival

By CAO YIN | | Updated: 2016-11-10 17:55

Judges in the capital have reminded residents to pay close attention to prices online, ahead of the annual 11.11 shopping festival.

Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court said on Thursday that it has accepted 212 disputes brought by online shoppers between January and October — a 600-percent increase compared to 2015.

"In the past, many cases related to online shopping focused on low-quality products or fake goods, but in recent years, most disputes have been attributed to tampering with prices," said Wang Guocai, deputy chief judge of a civil tribunal at the court.

Price tampering is most often seen with electronic products and luxury goods such as watches and bags, according to a statement of the court.

"A few sellers raise the prices of their products before the festival and then lower them, making customers feel like they have got a good deal at a big discount," Wang said.

For example, in one case a product that originally cost 196 yuan ($29) had been discounted by 50 percent and was sold for 99 yuan, "which was not half the original price," said Zhang Jun, a judge with the tribunal.

"Although the litigant only paid 1 yuan more than the proper discounted price, the seller should be still blamed and must compensate the customer," Zhang said.

She suggested customers pay close attention to prices online before the shopping festival, "as some sellers always take advantage of such festivals or limited time offers to cheat people".

The judges furthered called for online shopping platforms to penalize sellers who tamper with prices.

"Every platform should establish a scientific system to evaluate price, and try their best to verify whether product prices have been changed," Wang said, adding that a good competition environment is also key to promoting online shopping.

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