Half-yearly Report of the Consumer Legal Action Fund (1 April 2017 to 30 September 2017)
This is a report about the financial status of the Fund and the progress of assisted cases for the period from 1 April 2017 to 30 September 2017.
During the reporting period, total income and expenditure of the Fund were HK$55,161 and HK$1,281,420 respectively. As at 30 September 2017, total accumulated fund stood at about HK$7.72 million.
Report on cases
During the reporting period, the Fund has received 10 new applications. 11 applications were received prior to the reporting period and were under processing during the reporting period. Amongst these 21 applications, 7 had been declined and 12 remained under consideration. The Fund has granted assistance to 2 applications.
Progress of cases
Cases Carried Over From Previous Year
- Beauty Services – Claims of Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Unconscionable Conduct
Judgment in favour of the assisted consumer had been obtained against the defendant companies for fraudulent misrepresentation and unconscionable conduct with regard to a so-called “spokesperson campaign”. However, the judgment remained unsatisfied.
For the purpose of enforcing the judgment, the solicitors appointed by the Fund successfully obtained a winding up order against one of the defendant companies and filed a proof of debt for the assisted consumer.
- Headquarters and Professional Staff Cost Charged by a Management Company of a Residential Housing Estate
The assisted consumers, being individual owners of residential units of the housing estate, intended to seek a court declaration on the justifiability of the “headquarters and professional staff cost” charged by the management company. During the reporting period, the solicitors instructed by the Fund issued a letter before action to the legal representatives of the management company and was preparing for commencement of legal proceedings.
- Dental Services – Failure to Provide or Complete Prepaid Treatment
Judgments in favour of the 6 assisted consumers had been obtained but the defendant companies had failed to refund the prepayment for the undelivered or uncompleted treatment. During the reporting period, the solicitors instructed by the Fund sought to enforce the judgments for the assisted consumers.
- Beauty Service – Personal Injuries Claim
Judgment in favour of the assisted consumer had been obtained but the beauty salon failed to pay the compensation for the injuries and loss suffered as a result of the beauty treatments negligently performed. During the reporting period, the solicitors instructed by the Fund had been enforcing the judgment for the assisted consumer.
- Money Lender and Loan Broker – Claims of Misrepresentation and Deceit
The assisted consumer was allegedly misled by various misrepresentations made by a money lender and a loan broker into borrowing a mortgage loan.
Instructed by the Fund to pursue the claims for the assisted consumer, the solicitors commenced legal proceedings against both the money lender and the loan broker. By the end of the reporting period, the money lender filed a defence denying liability and the solicitors instructed by the Fund made a request for further and better particulars of the defence.
Newly Assisted Cases
- Beauty Products and Services – Recovery of Prepayment
The assisted consumer had made multiple bulk prepayment purchases of beauty products and treatments from an international beauty brand over the years. While a substantial portion of the purchases were yet to be collected or consumed, she was informed that the beauty brand would cease operation in less than 3 months and was requested to collect and consume all the purchased products and treatments.
The Fund granted assistance on the grounds that there had been wrongdoing on the part of the beauty brand and assisting this matter may alert consumers of the risk of making substantial prepayment purchase. The solicitors appointed by the Fund for the assisted consumer were in the course of preparing a letter before action to the beauty brand.
- Beauty Services – Aggressive Commercial Practices
The assisted consumer was allegedly pressurized to purchase beauty services by a beauty salon’s aggressive commercial practices including charging her credit card without obtaining her consent.
The Fund granted assistance on the grounds that such kind of unfair trade practices was not uncommon in the beauty industry and the matter involved significant consumer interest. The assisted consumer has signed an agreement with the Fund to formally accept the assistance so granted.
Annexure 1 to this report is a brief statistics of the Fund’s cases.