From Chinese Press

A consumer-created crisis

(China Daily)
Updated: 2011-03-23 08:01
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With the price of salt returning to normal, hundreds of people in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, visited supermarkets and shops to return their purchase, sparking a public debate on whether that should be allowed, says an article in Xinhua Daily Telegraph. Excerpts:

Many people now want to return the salt they bought in bulk after being buoyed by rumors of an impending crisis because of radiation from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was battered by a devastating earthquake on March 11 and the subsequent tsunami.

It is true that these people paid extra money to buy the salt, but it was they who created the crisis in the first place and thus caused the price to rise. So there is no reason why they should get a refund now.

But from the legal point of view, shopkeepers have to refund the money, especially because they sold the salt at a higher price, and according to the Price Law, no one can do so because salt is a special commodity to be sold strictly under government-guided price. Hence, shopkeepers have to take back the salt and refund the money to consumers.

But the consumers have to fulfill certain requirements before they can return the salt. The package should be intact because an open food packet cannot be returned for fear of contamination unless the product is substandard. They also have to furnish a receipt or invoice to prove they had purchased it from a particular shop.

Perhaps the consumers should be made to keep the salt as a reminder to the crisis they created and a lesson to ignore rumors in the future.

China Daily

(China Daily 03/23/2011 page9)