To be the trusted voice in striving for consumer
betterment towards safe and sustainable consumption in a fair and
The Council is committed to enhancing consumer
welfare and empowering consumers to protect themselves. Consumers
include consumers of goods and services and purchasers, mortgagors
and lessees of immovable property.
- it acts as
discussion and promulgation of pro-consumer policies;
- it sees to
empower consumers to
This is to be achieved through initiatives
directed at the consumers; the private sector; and networking with
other stakeholders, such as the media and government.
III. CORE VALUES
- be consumer interests driven, with due regard to
the concept of sustainable consumption;
- uphold fairness and justice;
- maintain openness in our activities;
- be independent and unsusceptible to undue
- be accountable;
- discharge our functions proactively,
constructively and with perseverance; and
- protect the privacy of
The Consumer Council Ordinance prescribes the
following functions for the Council:-
collecting, receiving and disseminating
information concerning goods and services and immovable
receiving and examining complaints and giving
advice to consumers of goods and services and purchasers,
mortgagors and lessees of immovable property;
taking such action as it thinks justified by
information in its possession, including tendering advice to the
Government or to any public officer;
encouraging businesses and professional
associations to establish codes of practice to regulate the
activities of their members; and
undertaking such other functions as the Council
may adopt with the prior approval of the Chief Executive in
V. MAIN DUTIES
(i) Forestalling & Mediating Disputes
between Consumers and Business
Consumer satisfaction is important to the
marketplace. The Council offers a convenient service to consumers
in making enquiries and lodging complaints, providing them with
pre-shopping advice and help mediate disputes as they occur. Our
consumer hotline (tel no.: 29292222) and our 7
Consumer Advice Centres (CACs) form an extensive network in
offering convenient services to consumers.
Council staff conciliates the consumer disputes
to help resolve complaints with pursuable grounds.
Complaints:In 2011/12, the Council
helped solve 75% of cases with pursuable grounds. A total of 27,509
complaints with 2,303 coming from tourists were received. CACs
& Hotline Centre received 104,424 consumer enquiries. If
traders refused to co-operate in resolving justifiable complaint
cases, consumers may seek redress at the Small Claims Tribunal and
the Council will tender advice where appropriate.
Exposing malpractices of
traders who do not take the Council's advice and continually
indulge in malpractices, the Council may convene a press conference
to name them.
Number of consumer complaints from 2002/03 to
(ii) Ensuring Product Quality and
The Council conducts tests on consumer products
to provide unbiased comparative test results to help consumers make
rational choices, to alert them to product hazards and to induce
improvements in product quality and safety.
How this is done?
There are three different types of tests:
Tests initiated and solely
conducted with the Council's own resources. Most of these tests are
conducted by accredited and independent laboratories in Hong Kong.
In case local testing facilitates do not meet the Council's
requirements, appropriate overseas laboratories will be
The Council is a member of
theInternational Consumer Research and
Testing(ICRT). It benefits
from ICRT's joint tests through which utilization of resources
could be maximized and experience shared.
Tests conducted in
cooperation with various local government/statutory organizations
or overseas consumer associations.
testing: In 2011/12, 39 product testing reports and 28
study reports were published in Council's CHOICE magazine (e.g.,
battery chargers, genetically modified materials in soy drinks and
Reports: They are reports of in-depth studies on a wide
range of consumer products to provide consumer information and, in
some cases, to verify product claims (e.g., health product claims,
digital TV recorders and folding tables, etc.)
International Exchange of Product
Information: The Council pays special attention to the
movement of unsafe products into Hong Kong and will request
suppliers to recall any such products. Through communication with
other consumer organisations and foreign authorities, the Council
receives a constant flow of information about unsafe products found
outside Hong Kong.
(iii) Collecting Market Information on
Services and Goods
Hong Kong has developed into a service-oriented
economy and consumers need more information on a wide range of
services. We conduct opinion surveys, market surveys and price
surveys to collect information on services for the benefit of
In 2011/12, 27 surveys and service study
reports were conducted:
- Finance and banking: e.g. dual currency and
Renmenbi credit card charges, tax loans.
Daily living: e.g. annual supermarket price
survey, textbook price survey and infant formulae price survey,
(iv) Promoting Sustainable
Consumers as ultimate users can exert influence
in the sustainable consumption and production equation, although
the latter is a much stronger party. The Council promotes and
supports sustainable consumption through comparative product
testing and dissemination of information which enable consumers to
make informed choices and to help conserve natural resources and
(v) Advocating Best Practice and
Competition in the Marketplace
In a market-based economy such as Hong Kong, the
Council has a role to play in ensuring that best practice and
competition in the marketplace bring desired effects of consumer
satisfaction and economic efficiency, thereby benefiting consumer
welfare - with lower prices, more choices and higher quality of
products and services.
The Council undertakes research and study on
various aspects of marketplace behaviour to identify matters of
concern to consumers as well as to encourage responsible trade
practices and fair competition.
responsible trade practices:
The Council worked closely with the beauty
industry in promoting the Beauty Industry Code of Practice. In the
end of 2007, the Code was incorporated into the industry manual of
professional operation and business management as part of the
industry initiative to provide the best beauty service.
Responding to Consultations:
The Council responds to consultation conducted by
government or other public bodies on consumer-related issues, for
examples, Licensing Scheme for Private Columbaria, Extension of the
Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags and Withdrawal
of MPF Benefits.
(vi) Disseminating Consumer
As consumers become better informed, they will be
better able to safeguard their interests against undesirable trade
practices and unsafe goods and services, to exercise rational
choices, and to contribute to sustainable consumption.
- Multi-media consumer information
magazine:The magazine provides a regular outlet of
information, advice and viewpoints on all matters affecting
- It does not accept any commercial
advertisements. In addition to copyright protection, the Consumer
Council Ordinance strictly prohibits the exploitation of the
Council's name or its research information for commercial and
- A press conference is held to launch the
publication of each issue of CHOICE, generating widespread coverage
in all sectors of the media.
- During 2011, the sales of
CHOICE magazine averaged 25,107 copies per issue.
- CHOICE Online ( http://www.consumer.org.hk/choice/online
):CHOICE Online, a full PDF
version in both traditional and simplified Chinese, provides all of
the reports in each current edition and an archive of over 9 years
of back issues of CHOICE for access by all internet users, for
viewing on annual subscription or per issue or per report
liaison: Regular press conferences, news releases,
briefing and interviews are arranged for all sectors of the
- Council's website ( http://www.consumer.org.hk
):Information posted on the website includes
information on our structure and services, research reports,
submissions to the Government and the Legislative Council, press
releases, competition study reports, consumer complaints forms,
CHOICE index and subscription forms, etc.
- The Shopsmart Website (
):Available in both the
traditional and simplified Chinese versions, the website "精明消費香港遊"
offers an unique one-stop consumer service covering a broad range
of products and topics of interest and concern to Mainland
tourists. It can be readily accessed via a network of hyperlinks
with the websites of sister consumer organizations in the Mainland,
through the cooperation and assistance of the China Consumers
programmes:Events held annually include the Consumer Rights
Reporting Awards, Top Ten Consumer News, World Consumer Rights Day
(vii) Empowering Consumer through
Consumer education forms an integral part of the
consumer empowerment objective of the Council. The Council has
provided institutional support to other organisations and
educational institutes to enable them to run their own consumer
education programmes. Tailor-made activities are designed to cater
for three major target groups - namely young people, senior
citizens and new immigrants.
Enhancing youth awareness in consumer
Consumer Culture Study Award is an annual
event jointly organised with the Education Bureau for local
secondary schools. Participants are to study a particular aspect of
our local consumer culture, exploring consumer attitudes, values
and behaviours in Hong Kong. In 2011/12, 99 schools with more than
1,144 teams participating in the event.
Besides, Youth Development Service Scheme
aims to provide an opportunity for the trained youth volunteer
leaders learning more about consumer issues through involvement in
the Council's activities.
for the vulnerable groups:
For senior citizens, programmes aim to educate them
on: health and safety concerns in selecting and consuming products
and services; precautions from falling prey to consumer traps; etc.
- Upon the requests from other social services institutes, a
Consumer Culture Study Award for Third Age Persons was launched in
the summer of 2010 to engage more third age persons in the
understanding and analysis of the local consumer culture.
For new immigrants, regular programmes are developed
for the new comers from the Mainland to familarise themselves with
local consumer protection measures.
Including community involvement service
scheme for women and third aged volunteers, training programmes for
teachers on consumer education, training seminar for Technology and
Living teachers, and staff training for school teachers.
Located in Tsimshatsui, the Centre's
facilities include a Consumer Advice Centre, an
exhibition-cum-lecture hall, and a resource library. Teaching
resources development includes curriculum resource package on
reflections on the learning and teaching strategies of project
learning, education resources kit on project-based learning for
PSHE at secondary level, DVD-ROM of winning reports of the Consumer
Culture Study Award, teaching kits on labeling and advertising and
consumer education resource kit for new immigrants.
(viii) Representing the Consumer Voice
Everyone is a consumer. Our efforts to promote
consumer interests will become more effective when we work closely
with other partners and stakeholders locally and overseas.
We maintain close liaison with the Government
through the Commerce and Economic
Development Bureau , which oversees consumer protection and
competition policy. Besides, the Council liaises with over 10 other
bureaux and 30 Government departments, facilitating the Council's
work in addressing specific consumer issues that fall within their
purview. Council's representatives serve about 57 public advisory
committees and boards of regulatory or statutory bodies.
Liaison with Mainland
Close liaison with consumers associations and
related bodies from the Mainland (over 3,200 consumer associations
in the whole country) is maintained through exchange of
information, referral of complaints, receiving their delegations or
providing training to their staff.
Memoranda of Cooperation have been signed with
consumer associations in major cities/provinces in the Mainland,
including Beijing, Guangdong Province, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin,
Chengdu, Zhejiang Province, Fujian Province, Shantung Province,
Hang Yang City, Macau, the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region, etc.
With the assistance of the
China Consumer Association ,
Website was launched in 2007 to provide consumer information to
Mainland visitors. 28 consumer organizations in the Mainland as
well as the China National
Tourism Administration added in their official websites a
hyperlink to the ShopSmart
Regional and international
The Council is elected executive and council member
of the Consumer
International (CI), a federation of consumer organisations
comprising over 220 members from 115 countries. The Council has
been actively involved in major international and regional
The Council, as a co-host with Consumers
International (CI), was fully engaged in the planning and
organization work in preparation for the 19 th Consumers
International World Congress which had been held in Hong Kong on
3-6 May 2011. The Congress was successfully inaugurated and
concluded, drawing over 700 delegates and speakers from consumer
organizations around the world, as well as trade and industries,
academics, governments, NGOs and the media from over 80
(ix) Improving Legal
Protection for Consumers
Consumers' legal rights should be protected by
law. We keep abreast of developments in the law that may affect
consumers' positions and welfare as users of goods and services. We
took all the initiative to improve and protect consumers' legal
rights by submitting our views in that regard to the Government and
In recent years, the Council expressed views and
made recommendations in areas such as improvement on the Trade
Descriptions Ordinance, introduction of a comprehensive trade
practices statute, regulation on the property management industry,
submission on the proposed legislative amendments to eradicate
pyramid schemes and report on public consultation on review of the
Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance ("PDPO").
(x) Consumer Legal
The Council is the Trustee of the Consumer Legal
Action Fund through a Declaration of Trust executed in November,
1994. The Fund was established with a Government grant of $10
million. It aims to give easier consumer access to legal remedies
by providing financial support and legal assistance for the
benefits of consumers, particularly, groups with similar grievances
in cases involving significant public interest and injustice.
From 11/1994 to 3/2012:
applications considered: 1,231
Problem solved during application:
Assistance granted: 681 (compensation