|Some Shopping Malls, Refund or Cancellation not Available|
Some Shopping Malls, Refund or Cancellation not Available
- Order cancellation limited only within an hour, refund requires restocking fees, and overseas conditions different from domestic–
Since, Black Friday, which starts at the end of November, and Christmas Sale are around the corner, overseas direct purchase is expected to grow that consumers need to be more cautious when purchasing through online shopping malls that have policies which could work against consumers.
KCA(www.kca.go.kr) investigated terms and conditions of top nine major overseas online shopping mall(hereinafter referred to as “shopping websites”) on policies regarding cancel, refund, exchange and etc.
□ Refund and cancel policies in some of shopping websites are different from domestic that consumers need to be more careful
After reviewing terms and conditions of each overseas shopping websites, cancel before shipping was available in most websites but in case of “e-bay” cancellation is available only within an hour, for “Shopbop” cancel or edit order was impossible after placing the order, and “Rakuten” says to avoid double payment, placing an additional order before getting a cancel confirmation is not recommended because some brands might charge cancellation fee.
□ Difficult to get compensation for losses and damage when using Overseas Delivery Service
In case of overseas shopping websites, it is difficult for consumers to get redress when an item gets lost or damaged. If an item is delivered not directly to consumers but through Overseas Delivery Service, then, it becomes difficult for consumers to get compensation from overseas shopping websites.
Thus, it is recommended that fragile items to be delivered directly from overseas shopping websites, and when using Overseas Delivery Service, request additional services such as “thorough review, fragile insurance, and special packaging”. Also, websites like “Amazon”, and “e-bay” provides services that helps consumers to settle consumer disputes between businesses and consumers but, using Overseas Delivery Service, make it impossible to use related services.
□ Refund policy on cancellation fee differs at home and abroad
In addition, unlike domestic law where cancellation fee and compensation for damage in refund is forbidden, foreign countries shopping websites request each websites to set their own policy regarding the matter. Therefore, open market foreign shopping websites like Amazon and e-bay have refund policy that could work against consumers depending on different brands, so to prevent unexpected consumer damage, consumers should thoroughly read terms and conditions of shopping websites.
□ Since some overseas shopping websites have different policy, read terms and conditions carefully
According to the research, shopping websites like “Shopbop”, “Amazon”, “e-bay”, “Amazon Japan” and others required consumers to pay customs and duty fees in advance when paying. Since paying customs and duty fees in advance might help swift customs that might be seen as an effective way, but in some cases, although items can be overcharged even for duty free items and take more than 2months that consumers need to be cautious. Also, “e-bay” does not mention anything about customs and duty fees refund that consumers need to double check whether prices that they are paying is appropriate.
* (Customs and Duty) Refers to fees that is estimated to pay when importing through Korea Customs and we sometimes call this imported items deposits, Import Fee Deposit, Import Charge, and others.
Considering the fact that policy of foreign shopping websites is very different from that of domestic one, consumers can make rational and safe purchasing decision after carefully reading terms and conditions, and consumer protection policy.
In order to help consumers to make safe overseas purchasing decision, KCA suggests guideline of overseas shopping websites’ refund and replacing procedure through 'Cross Border Transaction Consumer Portal (http://crossborder.kca.go.kr)'. Also the website provides e-mail form in English for different complaint cases that consumers are recommended to actively use these samples in case when consumer damage takes place.
Moreover, KCA signed MOU with overseas consumer agencies to effectively solve Korean consumers’ damages. So far, KCA has signed MOU with consumer agencies in U.S, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. In case where consumer damage takes place using shopping websites of these countries, consumers can file complaints through “Cross Border Consumer Portal Site” then KCA delivers to foreign consumer agency and return reply to Korea consumers.
* KCA signed MOU with Vietnam (Vietnam Competition Authority, June of ’15), Japan (National Consumer Affairs Center, July of ’15), U.S (Council of Better Business Bureaus, May of ’16), Thailand (The Office of the Consumer Protection Board, June of ’16).
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