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Supreme Court protects consumers
China Daily
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Supreme Court protects consumers

China's top court is conducting research on livestreaming and other issues related to new purchasing habits to strengthen consumer protection by formulating relevant judicial documents, a senior judge said.

"Our research focuses on livestreaming sales, tipping livestreaming hosts, online booking and personal information protection of consumers," Chen Yifang, chief judge of the Supreme People's Court's No 1 Adjudication Tribunal, told a news briefing on 9th of April.

She said that the research, as well as the formulation of related legal documents and the disclosure of influential cases, are consistent with the country's newly revised regulations concerning consumers.

The regulations for the Implementation of the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, unveiled by the State Council last month, will take effect on July 1.

With detailed provisions on obligations of business operators, the regulations respond to major concerns of consumers over the past few years, including those on livestreaming sales, prepaid consumption and personal data protection.

Chen said the top court is also optimizing adjudication rules related to prepaid consumption, such as how to terminate a contract, whether the refund needs to include interest, and consumer fraud, adding "our aim is to ensure business integrity and safeguard the legitimate rights of consumers."

The country's top market regulator has pledged to tighten inspection of emerging businesses so that they can develop in a healthy manner.

Kuang Xu, head of the State Administration for Market Regulation's law enforcement and inspection division, cited data from the past five years as showing that the market size of livestreaming sales increased by 10.5 times, but consumer complaints increased by 47.1 times, which was significantly higher than traditional e-commerce.

"Selling goods through livestreaming platforms has enriched and innovated our consumption patterns, but it has also made it more difficult for consumers to protect their rights and interests," he said, adding that it is essential to seek a balance in the development and norms of the business.

He welcomed the newly released regulations, as some provisions can also apply to emerging businesses such as livestreaming e-commerce.

For example, the regulations stipulate that those who sell products or provide services through the internet, television or telephone must introduce their business content via the home page, video screen, voice call or catalog. The sales platforms also need to disclose to consumers the name, business address and contact information of sellers.

"The provisions mean that operators engaged in livestreaming sales must inform consumers who are selling the products and what goods are being sold to ensure the transparency of the business information," Kuang said.

The regulations also require livestreaming platforms to establish working systems to help solve consumption-related disputes, with notification of who operates the streaming rooms and who is responsible to consumers.

Kuang added that the strict management of platforms will be conducive to standardizing livestreaming sales.

China DailyShen Yi

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