|Consumer damage of Cross Border Transactions can be Addressed through Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal|
Consumer damage of Cross Border Transactions can be Addressed through Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal
-Government3.0, laid out various solutions and consumer information for Safe Direct Overseas Purchase –
Since Oct. 2015, as overseas purchase rapidly increases, Korea Consumer Agency (www.kca.go.kr) has been running 「Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal(http://crossborder.kca.go.kr)」, the only Korean overseas purchase portal, as one of its comprehensive efforts to create foundation for safe overseas direct purchase. Also, in order for KCA to reach a goal of “creating reliable market for consumers to trade”, the main task of Fair Trade Committee’s this year business plan, KCA is pushing for direct solutions to consumers who make overseas direct purchase and is expanding list of information to prevent consumer damage.
The portal provides comprehensive information(things that consumers should pay attention to such as consumer damage cases, suspicious websites, Korea and international price comparison websites, information on cancelation and refund, English expression for different complain types and others) for different stages to prevent consumer damage or to get help.
In particular, as one of Government3.0 measures KCA has cooperated with Korea Customs Service and currently provides ‘expected tariff ·VAT inquiry’ services that calculates taxes that will be paid in advance when making overseas purchase. Also, through ‘prevent overseas direct purchase damage check point’; KCA has issued guideline that can prevent consumers’ overseas direct purchase damage.
Moreover, KCA is planning to provide integrated system via expanding cooperation among countries to seek real solution for overseas direct purchase consumer damage that used be a difficult problem to solve.
■ Overseas purchase consumer damage prevention？solution provided on the only Korean website ‘Cross Border Consumer Transaction Portal’
Cross Border Consumer Transaction Portal provides counseling service in case when overseas direct purchase consumer damage occurs due to foreign businesses. After launching the portal, oversea purchase consumer who used to give up reporting complaints because they did not know how are now actively exercising their rights, recording 85 complaints during the past 6months.
* 2015.10.30~2016.4.30. 6 months
Seeing by countries, China (22cases, 25.8%), U.S. (20 cases, 23.5%), which takes the highest percentage in Korean overseas purchase, ranked the highest followed by Germany (4cases, 4.7%) and Japan (3cases, 3.5%). Not only countries that Korean consumers frequently purchase products but it also includes Korean consumer damages reported from overseas purchase in other countries like Croatia, Dubai, Singapore, Eastern European countries, Middle East, South-East Asian countries. Most online shopping malls offer English services but some sites also offer Korean language service using machine translation that Korean consumers do not feel uncomfortable when making a purchase. However, after experiencing consumer damage, it is problematic for Korean consumers because they face language barrier in communication.
When categorizing into different sectors, ‘shoes？clothes’(22cases, 25.9%), ‘personal belongings(bags·accessories and others)’(17 cases, 20.0%), ‘hobby supplies(drone, golf club and other)’(6cases, 7.1%) took the biggest share in reported complaints followed by advance reservation for car purchase, overseas tariff, returned products custom clearance problem, cash back service and other different type of consumer damage reported.
■ Viable solution to consumer damage through building network with major countries
KCA came up with various measures to solve consumer damage problems reported on ‘Cross Border Consumer Transaction Portal’ that includes 23 cases of supporting direct communication with the online shopping malls, 17 cases of supporting interpretation service, 3 cases of cooperation with other related agencies, 2 cases registered as fraudulent website and others. Despite such efforts, considering the differences in law·practice·custom and there is no existing binding international law, KCA is working with major countries’ consumer complain solving agencies.
Following the MoU signed with Japan(National Consumer Affairs Center , NCAC ), and Vietnam(Vietnam Competition Authority, VCA) on cross border consumer damage solution last year, KCA will also sign MoU with U.S Council of Better Business Bureaus(CBBB) in the upcoming May 26th. Also, in June, KCA is planning to sign MoU with Office of the Consumer Protection Board of Thailand, a country which has frequent interaction with Korea (Korean-wave, overseas travel).
■ Disclosure of useful information on overseas purchase and suspicious fraudulent website to prevent consumer damage
Also, Cross Border Consumer Transaction Portal reveals up to date information on consumer damage cases, consumer warnings, order cancellation and refund process, other information to prevent consumer damage and discloses the name of suspicious fraudulent web sites immediately by monitoring consumer complains on a real-time basis. Furthermore, KCA will seek practical ways to address consumer problems regarding fraudulent websites by cooperating with relevant agencies.
Likewise, in cooperation with Korea Customs Service the portal‘s role as the only Korean hub for preventing overseas consumer damage will be strengthened by developing·offering contents on tariff·customs and other specialized sectors.
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