Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What kinds of complaints would the Council handle?
    • Complaints on goods and services purchased from traders by individual consumers for private use or consumption.
    • Complaints of the following nature would probably fall outside the Council’s scope of work:
      • Complaints involving goods and services purchased for use in the operation of business or in the name of a business entity;
      • Private transaction between individuals not in the course of business;
      • Complaints involving goods and services supplied by the Government;
      • Complaints arising solely from the performance of an investment;
      • Complaints unrelated to consumer issues, such as those regarding gambling, auction.

  2. What is the Council’s role in complaints handling?
    • The Council handles complaints by means of conciliation, providing a platform for the consumer and the trader to resolve disputes by mutually acceptable agreements.
    • The Council is not a law enforcement agency and does not possess the power of investigation or adjudication.

  3. What may prevent the Council from pursuing a complaint by conciliation?
    • In the course of conciliation, the Council needs to communicate with both the complainants and the traders. The Council will not be able to follow up the complaints if the complainant fails to provide his or her name and contact information (such as telephone number or address) or the trader cannot be traced or reached.
    • If a trader under complaint is based overseas without any office or associate in Hong Kong, the trader may not be inclined to cooperate and to respond to the conciliation attempt of the Council.

  4. What kind of information should I be prepared to provide when lodging a complaint with the Council?
    • Personal particulars including your full name, email / correspondence address and contact telephone number;
    • Details of the trader(s) being complained including company name, correspondence /email address and contact telephone number;
    • Details of the transaction with the date, time, place and the person(s) involved;
    • Copies of relevant documents in support of your complaint (e.g.. contract, receipt, credit card slip, correspondence exchange with the trader(s));
    • Your desired outcome of the case.

  5. Are there any other alternatives in resolving a dispute other than refund?
    • Apart from refund, a consumer dispute may be resolved by various means, such as product exchange, free repair and maintenance, extra discounts or benefits, or extension of validity or warranty period, etc.

  6. Can I request a trader under complaint for an apology or disciplinary action against its staff for poor service?
    • The Council is not empowered to order or require a trader to do so. It can at best relay to the trader your opinion about the goods or performance service, and encourage improvement accordingly.

  7. How long does it take for the Council to reply to my complaint?
    • Upon receipt of a complaint, if the case is found to be a consumer dispute within the Council’s purview and the supporting document is sufficient, the case will be assigned to the case officer for follow-up and an acknowledgement letter or email will be sent to you, informing you of the name and telephone number of the officer handling your case. Generally, you will be notified within seven working days whether the case is in process or further information is required.
    • The case officer will then contact the trader concerned by mail/email/phone and request prompt follow-up on the case. The progress of the case is dependent on the voluntary cooperation of the trader(s). Once a substantive reply is received from the trader, the case officer will inform you of the outcome.
    • If you have any issues or concerns regarding the case, you may contact the case officer through the telephone number or email address provided in the acknowledgement letter. In case the line is busy, you can send emails or leave voice mails to the case officer. The officer will make the best effort to return your call as soon as possible within 3 working days.

  8. What could I do if the dispute is not resolved after conciliation by the Council?
    If a settlement cannot be reached between you and the trader, you may consider pursuing the matter by the following ways:
    • Filing a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal for adjudication if the claim amount does not exceed HK$50,000.
    • Filing a claim in District Court for adjudication if the claim amount exceeds HK$50,000, but is not more than HK$1,000,000.
    • Filing a claim in the Court of First Instance if the claim amount is in excess of HK$1,000,000.
    • You may consider submitting an application to the Consumer Legal Action Fund for legal assistance. The Management Committee of the Fund will assess the case based on prescribed criteria and decide whether legal assistance would be offered to you in pursuit of your claim.