Business / Industries

E-commerce sites attract complaints

By MENG JING (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-16 02:35

Online shopping in China is one of the top areas drawing consumer complaints.

This was highlighted on Tuesday when China's state broadcaster named and shamed some e-commerce sites in an annual program to mark World Consumer Rights Day.

The website for China Central Television's annual 315 Gala said it had received the most complaints from consumers relating to e-commerce websites, car sales and mobile phones.

The TV program disclosed many examples of suspected business misconduct by online companies. One case involved the food delivery app, which is suspected of selling questionable food. Another was about secondhand car bidding site, which allegedly manipulates the bidding process.

As Chinese consumers turn increasingly to websites to buy products ranging from food to clothing and even big-ticket items such as cars, the number of complaints about online purchases has increased.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce said last week that e-commerce sites in the service sector had received the most complaints from consumers for two consecutive years.

The administration said online shopping led to 145,800 individual consumer complaints last year, an increase of 87.3 percent year-on-year. Poor product quality and misleading advertising triggered the most complaints.

To better regulate China's online market, the administration said in a report on Tuesday that it carried out several campaigns last year to crack down on fake goods sold online. The campaigns included shutting down 1,134 online shops and removing 75,000 illegal products that were listed.

Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holdings, has vowed to strengthen the e-commerce giant's defenses against counterfeit products on its online sites.

"Counterfeit products don't just hurt Alibaba, they also hurt all of Chinese society and the next generation," Ma said at a meeting in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, last week.

The company, which has been accused by some Western brands of selling fake products on its online shopping sites, said rather than simply shutting down stores that sell counterfeit goods, it has been working with Chinese authorities to find the sources of such products.

Between April and September last year, it helped local law enforcement departments investigate 330 cases involving suspected counterfeit products. According to consultancy Forrester Research, China is the world's largest e-commerce market. The market is forecast to reach $1 trillion in 2020.

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