|Provide Guidelines to Prevent Damages from Overseas Online Shopping|
Provide Guidelines to Prevent Damages from Overseas Online Shopping
- ODP consumer complaints registrations steadily increasing every year -
Overseas Direct Purchase (ODP) has established itself in Korea as a new consumption pattern and, as a result, the number of consumer complaints is increasing sharply as well. The Korea Consumer Agency (www.kca.go.kr) says among the ODP-related consumer complaints registered for the 1372 consumer counseling center* numbered a total of 5,613 cases in 2015 which is approximately double**that of the 2,781 cases in 2014.
* 1372 Consumer Counseling Center (www.ccn.go.kr): An integrated nationwide hotline that receives consumer counseling requests, participated by 10 consumer organizations, 16 municipal/local autonomous bodies, and the KCA
** In the past, multiple consumers generally gave up despite suffering from damages but consumer complaints are believed to have increased with the establishment of a department dedicated to supporting international transactions at the KCA, etc., following he provision of conditions conducive to exercising consumer rights.
Disputes with overseas operators require high caution in order to prevent consumer damages as domestic laws cannot often be applied. In response, the KCA has in collaboration with the Korea Customs Service devised a set of check points to prevent ODP losses, which is a set of guidelines to prevent such damages. These guidelines focus on the types of losses for each step of ODP (order placement/payment/transportation/customs clearance/delivery), precaution, and countermeasures, with key consumer complaints included. These guidelines were provided mainly for consumers that have ODP experience. When the consumer has little or no experience in ODP, it is recommended to refer to the ODP guidelines on the Cross-Border Transaction Consumer Portal (http://crossborder.kca.go.kr) before purchase.
In order to effectively respond to consumer issues in cross-border transactions including ODP, the KCA has been operating the Cross-Border Transaction Consumer Portal since October 2015, and through this site the KCA plans to steadily provide a wide variety of information to prevent consumer losses and damages.
The Korea Customs Service said the growth rate of ODP, which had been surging before, had slowed a little in 2015. In 2015, the number/amount of ODP accounted for 15.86 million cases or 1.52 billion dollars. In 2015, the number of cases grew 2% from 2014 while the amount dropped 1% from 2014, respectively.
This is a steep decline in the trend where the number of cases had been growing approximately 44% yearly and the purchase amounts approximately 56% yearly since 2010. The Korea Customs Service attributed this to ① currency appreciation ② consumer dissatisfaction (size, difficulty in returns), and ③measures to boost domestic consumption including the introduction of K-Sale and encouragement of parallel imports.
By transaction amounts the U.S.(73%) still accounted for the greatest percentage, followed by Europe(13%), Japan(4%), China(3%) and Hong Kong(3%). By item, health supplement food(16%), apparel(16%), and other foods(14%) accounted for the greatest percentage, followed by cosmetics(11%), footwear(10%), purses and bags(4%), toy dolls(4%), electronic products(3%), watches(2%) and books(0.4%). The sum of the above listed products reach 80% of the total.
* (Health supplements) Vitamins, anti-oxidants, Omega-3 supplements, etc. / (other foods) Milk powder, coffee, candies etc.
By items purchased from each country, health supplement food(20%) accounted for the most from the U.S., other foods(33%) from Europe, toy dolls(19%) from Japan, everyday products(32%) from China, and cosmetics(40%) from Hong Kong.
The Korea Customs Service projects a rebound in ODP import volume in the context of expansion of duty-free allowance for ODP items from December 1. The government agency said it would strengthen inspections including more stringent X-ray scans and inspections in collaboration with other government agencies.
* (Previous) Product price+freight+insurance premium KRW 150,000 Korean Won ⇒ (Expanded) Product price 150 U.S. dollars
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