MARCH 21ST 2016
CONSUMER RIGHTS DAY GALA TARGETS PROBLEMATIC ONLINE BUSINESSES
March 15 is designated as the World Consumer Rights Day (in China, dubbed as 3.15) and ever since 1991 it is one of the least favorite day in the year for senior executives of service companies. Every year, China Central Television puts on 3.15 gala show featuring findings of unfair conduct of the companies, all for the sake of protecting the consumers.
This broadcast a great impact on consumer’s confidence and the companies must take it seriously, whether they like it or not. Usually within hours or days from the broadcast, the featured companies are expected to make statements on how they will remedy the situation, etc. One of the most notable ones from the past 3.15 gala was the featuring of Apple in 2013.
Apple was accused of circumventing some of its warranty promises and creating new customer-service policies that discriminated against Chinese customers. Two weeks after the allegations, the CEO Tim Cook issued an official apology in Chinese which was posted on Apple China websites. The comapny solved the issues with the warranties and promised to prioritize and streamline customer communication.
Last year, Jaguar Land Rover was featured for selling vehicles with faulty gearboxes.
This year, reputation of foreign companies was spared as the 3.15 gala focused mainly on a variety of restaurants listed under the online delivery service ele.me. Some of these establishments were not only unlicensed and dirty but they have been cheating their customers with fake photos and information. The investigators discovered that some of the ele.me listed restaurants were shut down last year but had reopened without approval.
In addition, food ordered from five restaurants with different names and addresses turned out to be from the one restaurant in East Beijing’s Tongzhou District. Two people were cooking the food in a 10-square-meter room and handled more than 400 orders a day.
In another report from the 3.15 program featured a number of companies were found to be faking online orders to make vendors on Taobao platform appear more popular than they really were, CCTV claimed. The program also featured websites facilitating the sale/purchase of used cars, which were said to create a price gap of up to RMB 20,000 that it and its dealership partners benefited from.
During the evening, Ele.me issued a statement that it will be removing all problematic restaurants from its website,and will conduct nationwide thorough checking of the licenses of listed restaurants. Other featured companies are expected to issues their statements in the coming days.
«Lessons from Consumer Rights Day in China» Webber Shandwick, webershandwick.asia/lessons-from-chinas-consumer-rights-day/
«Why Companies in China Fear the World Consumer Rights Day» CKGSB Knowledge, knowledge.ckgsb.edu.cn/2015/03/12/consumers/why-companies-in-china-fear-the-world-consumer-rights-day/
«Big Companies Quake In Fear Before China’s Annual ‘3.15’ Consumer Rights TV Show» International Buisness Times, http://www.ibtimes.com/big-companies-quake-fear-chinas-annual-315-consumer-rights-tv-show-1561536
«CCTV exposes the dirtier side of ordering your dinner online» Shanghai Daily, http://www.shanghaidaily.com/national/CCTV-exposes-the-dirtier-side-of-ordering-your-dinner-online/shdaily.shtml
Annex Asia Publishing
Image: China Daily
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