Consumer councils act on customer complaints

Hu Min
Tourism, online shopping, as well as culture and entertainment were hotbeds for complaints during the National Day holiday.
Hu Min

Tourism, online shopping, as well as culture and entertainment were hotbeds for complaints during the National Day holiday due to a travel and consumption boom, Shanghai's consumer council revealed on Sunday.

The council received 1,064 complaints through the eight-day holiday, down 53.6 percent from the same period last year, it said.

Membership card sales, transportation, catering and accommodation were the top three areas for service-related complaints, while clothing, home appliances and furnishings topped the list of commodity complaints.

The council received 198 complaints over tourism and relevant industries including transportation, catering and accommodation due to increased travel.

Poor service quality and failure to use already booked tickets for tourist attractions drew the ire of consumers.

A consumer complained that lunch was not offered during his group tour as promised by a travel agency, which even replaced a trip to Wuzhen Ancient Town in neighboring Zhejiang Province with sightseeing in Shanghai, according to the council, without revealing the name of the agency.

In terms of transportation, problems regarded high commission fees for refund or change of tickets, ticketing failures or delays in refund,  failure of accommodation for already paid orders, fake promotion and unreasonable charge were major woes for complaints over catering and accommodation.

A consumer asked for a refund, claiming the real room space of a hotel booked online was 10 square meters instead of 20 to 25 square meters as claimed on its booking website, the council said.

With the dual National Day holiday and Mid-Autumn Festival boosting consumption demand, 722 complaints concerned online shopping were received.

Problems with quality and poor after-sales services drew the ire of consumers.

Cultural and entertainment consumption during the holiday led to a number of complaints with nearly 40 percent over film ticketing.

Failure to redeem already paid tickets bought online and refund disputes were common issues.

A consumer complained that he could not redeem a paid film ticket and was told there was a quota for redemption. The ticketing platform did not inform buyers of this in advance.

More than 50 complaints during the holiday were related to membership charges for streaming websites.

Automatic renewal without a reminder and unclear membership service rules to trick consumers into consumption drew complaints, the council said.

Meanwhile, consumer councils in the Yangtze River Delta region received 8,896 complaints in total during the holiday, they said on Sunday.

Among them, 17 percent were tourism related, concerning hygiene conditions, after-sales services, contract fulfillment, and ticketing disputes.

A consumer who booked three rooms at a hotel in Zhejiang in advance found the hotel was closed, and he could not obtain a refund.

More than 28 percent of complaints were related to retail with clothing and food topping the list, consumer councils in the region said. 

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