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Seven Categories of Goods Purchased Online Not Eligible for Unconditional Returns

The Implementing Measures for the Seven-Day Unconditional Return of Online Purchased Goods (Draft for Comment) released by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce intend to limit the scope of goods not suitable for unconditional returns to seven categories, including custom-made goods ordered by consumers and fresh or perishable goods. The draft measures also state that goods whose packages have been opened for inspection or goods that have been tested only for inspection of quality and function are considered intact and cannot be taken as reason for refusing the return of goods.

The newly-amended Consumer Rights Protection Law introduced the system of “seven-day unconditional returns” for online shopping and other new forms of consumption. Since this system only lays down the principle, new situations and new problems have cropped up in the course of implementation. For example, there are different interpretations for the scope of goods deemed to be not suitable for unconditional returns.

For this reason, the draft measures suggest that the provisions for seven-day unconditional returns should not apply to the following seven categories after they have been confirmed by consumers at the time of purchase: Custom-made goods ordered by consumers; fresh or perishable goods; audio-visual products downloaded or unsealed by consumers and digital products like computer software; newspapers and periodicals delivered; goods that may change or affect people’s safety or health once unsealed; goods that devalue substantially once activated or used; and goods that have been clearly marked with imminent use-by dates or defects notification at the time of sale. It is understood and Taobao, JD and other mainstream shopping platforms all indicate on the product display pages whether seven-day unconditional returns are applicable but no such reminders are given during the sale process.

The newly-amended Consumer Rights Protection Law states that the returned goods must be intact, but what is the standard for being intact? The draft measures suggest that goods may be deemed intact if their original quality and functions are kept and the items, accessories and trademark labels are complete. Opening the packages for inspection or reasonable testing for inspection of quality and function should not affect the intactness of the goods. The draft measures also set the standards for passing the “not intact” judgment based on different classifications of commodities.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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