Message from the Chairman

1 January 2019
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chairman

I am deeply honoured to serve as Chairman of the Consumer Council, a long-established statutory body in Hong Kong that is well recognized for its credibility, professionalism and dedication to advancing consumer protection and advocacy.

For 45 years, the Council has worked diligently to safeguard the interests of Hong Kong consumers through market research, information dissemination and public education to encourage the sale and purchase of products and services that are safe, reliable and value-for-money.

Today, the consumption environment has been evolving rapidly. Digital innovations continue to move at lightning speed, transforming the nature of shopping and altering how consumers interact and transact with product and service providers and with each other. Many technology-savvy consumers act as both buyers and sellers, while others act as promoters, purchasing products and services and broadcasting their experience and opinions to other consumers.

Technology advances have also offered consumers greater and broader range of choices than ever, but they have also made upholding their rights more challenging for the Council.  Despite the clear benefits and opportunities offered by the digital transformation, the ease and speed with which consumers can engage in online transactions – anytime, anywhere, and even across borders – can place them in unfamiliar situations, putting their interests at risk. Consumer choices in this information-intensive, choice-rich environment can be impaired by challenges relating to complexity and uncertainty, sometimes compounded by misleading or fraudulent business practices.

Effective consumer protection regulations and education are therefore essential to ensure consumers of all ages can participate fully and fairly in both the online and offline worlds, reaping the benefits, while reducing the risks.

Like consumer protection agencies in many other jurisdictions, the Council must continue to keep abreast of the times, given the major challenges the digital age poses to the effective protection of consumer rights in our society.

Taking the solid foundation developed from a line of remarkable Council leaders, I hope my knowledge and experience as a Senior Counsel will continue to add value to Council’s work during my tenure. I look forward to working with the committee members and staff of the Council to realize our shared determination to ensure a safer and fairer marketplace for consumers.

 

Mr. Paul Lam Ting-kwok, SC 
Chairman of the Consumer Council