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The 3rd Offence: Aggressive Commercial Practices (Scenario 2 Offence Explanation)


Offence Explanation

The staff of the Travel Service Centre retained Onion Junior’s identity card to prevent him from leaving and bombarded him with long and tedious sales pitch, pressurizing him to join the Timesharing Scheme. Such conduct significantly impairs or is likely to significantly impair the average consumer’s freedom of choice or conduct, and thus causes or is likely to cause the consumer to make a transactional decision that the consumer would not have made otherwise. This may constitute the offence of aggressive commercial practices under the Ordinance.


Reminder to Consumer

Wise Tips

  1. Consumers should have adequate time to read the contract in details so that they can make a purchase decision with a clear and independent mind. They should not be influenced by the salespersons or sign the contract hastily for the mere purpose of getting away.
  2. Consumers should be extra cautious if traders provide free trial services. To avoid aggressive sales practices, they should not give their identity card or credit card casually to salespersons.
  3. If a trader swipes a consumer’s credit card to make transfer without his/her authorisation, the consumer should refuse to sign the bill and contact the card issuer immediately to cancel the transfer in order not to fall into the trap of unscrupulous traders.
  4. If the time or the environment is unsuitable for making a smart transactional decision (e.g. too rush, too crowded or too noisy), consumers can request for a copy of the contract so that they can ponder over it calmly and carefully at home and seek other’s opinion.
  5. Consumers should not sign contracts that are beyond their financial means or needs. Under whatever circumstances, they should stay alert and calm, and firmly reject all unfair trade practices.
  6. Consumers should pay heed to their own financial means when signing service contracts. They should refrain from signing contracts with payment amounts beyond their financial means or contracts of excessively long term in order to avoid excessive spending or failure to utilize all the service within the term, resulting in squander.
  7. Consumers should fully understand the content of a document before signing it. They should not sign any blank documents and should always request for a copy of the document for record.
  8. Consumers can request the trader to provide a copy of the contract for their own reference. They should check if the terms and conditions of the contract are consistent with those represented during the selling process and if there are any unfair clauses, such as unreasonable exemption clauses and unfair clause of unilateral right to vary terms of the contract, etc.
  9. If consumers are forced by traders to purchase any goods or services through aggressive commercial practices, they should leave immediately or call the police for assistance.


Access to Redress

  1. To lodge a complaint, as the case may be, with the following organizations:
    1. Customs and Excise Department
    2. Office of the Communications Authority (On broadcasting and telecommunications services)
    3. Consumer Council
  2. If you suffer loss because of conduct of another person that is directed to you and constituted the above-mentioned offence, you may commence civil action for damages:
    1. If the claim does not exceed $50,000: Small Claims Tribunal
    2. If the claim exceeds $50,000, but does not exceed $1,000,000: District Court
    3. If the claim exceeds $1,000,000: Court of First Instance of the High Court
    Besides, as the case may be, you may seek legal advice and/or assistance from:
    1. Professional lawyers
    2. Resource Centre for Unrepresented Litigants
    3. Free Legal Advice Scheme offered by the Duty Lawyer Service
    4. Apply for Legal Aid Schemes from the Legal Aid Department
    5. Apply for the Consumer Legal Action Fund of the Consumer Council