|Many companion animal sellers were found to provide consumers with contracts which do not comply with relevant laws|
Many companion animal sellers were found to provide consumers with contracts which do not comply with relevant laws
- Consumers should check animal health conditions and whether animal sellers comply with the Criteria for the Settlement of Consumer Disputes when purchasing companion animals -
As the number of households in Korea with companion animals amounts to 15 million, and people are increasingly buying or adopting companion animals, consumer damages related to companion animals continue to occur. In order to prevent the consumer damages, the government stipulates matters to be observed by animal sellers in the Enforcement Rule of Animal Protection Act, but it was found that the animal sellers did not fully comply with the matters.
□ ‘Health problems occurring soon after purchase’ accounted for 55.8% of consumer damages related to companion animals.
For the last four (4) years (2016~19), the number of applications for damage redress related to companion animals received by the Korea Consumer Agency (President Lee Hee-sook) amounted to 684 cases. By damage type, ‘health problems of companion animals,’ including getting sick or dying soon after purchase, accounted for 382 cases (55.8%), followed by ‘non-fulfillment of contract obligation,’ including non-performance of the animal seller’s promise to compensate for animals’ health problems occurring soon after purchase, with 148 cases (21.6%).
【Types of consumer damages related to companion animals 】
□ Most of the animal sellers investigated provided contracts which did not comply with the Animal Protection Act.
In accordance with the Enforcement Rule of Animal Protection Act, sellers of animals should provide consumers with contracts containing a section with detailed information on the animal: source of animal acquisition, breed, color, any special features when sold, vaccinations, health condition, and how to deal with disease and death occurring soon after purchase.
As a result of the investigation on 60 animal sellers whose contracts could be checked, only two (2) sellers (3.3%) indicated in their contracts ‘the name and address of an animal breeder’s place of business,‘ which is the information about the animal’s place of origin, and four (4) sellers (6.7%) indicated only ‘the name of an animal breeder’s place of business.‘ And the other 54 sellers (90.0%) did not provide any indication about the name and address of a breeder’s place of business.’ In addition, 33 (55%) out of the 60 investigated sellers indicated animal breeds and colors in their contracts, and no sellers indicated special features when sold.
It was also found that sellers did not provide information sufficiently on the animal’s health condition in their contracts although the health information can be one of the important factor that may affect consumers’ purchase decision. With regard to vaccination records, most (53 sellers, 88.3%) of the sellers investigated indicated ‘whether the animal was vaccinated,’ but 50 sellers (83.3%) out of those 53 sellers did not provide detailed information on ‘the date of vaccination and the type of vaccine used’ in their contracts.
Meanwhile, 33 sellers (55.0%) indicated the animal’s health condition when sold, and 27 sellers (45.0%) did not. However, given that, although 31 out of those 33 sellers wrote in their contracts that the animal was ‘in good or fair condition, most of the applications for damage redress against the sellers investigated were made due to ‘animal health problems,’ it is considered that the sellers did not provide exact and accurate information on the animal’s health condition in their contracts.
In addition, only two (2) sellers (3.3%) were found to comply with ‘the Criteria for the Settlement of Consumer Disputes’* in case where animal health problems (e.g. disease, death, etc.) occur after purchase. The other 58 sellers (96.7%) indicated terms and conditions that make it difficult to get a refund, such as ‘no refunds if other animal hospitals are used,’ ‘no full refunds because of the unique characteristics of pet animals,’ and ‘exchanges only,’ in their contracts.
* The Criteria for the Settlement of Consumer Disputes refers to the criteria announced by the Korea Fair Trade Commission for agreement or recommendation for dispute settlement, and it is applied in case where there is no separate indication of intent regarding dispute settlement methods from the parties to the dispute.
□ It is necessary to strengthen the oversight of animal sellers and to improve relevant systems.
Based on the result of the investigation, the KCA will ask the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) to oversee animal sellers so that they provide consumers with contracts prepared according to the attached Table 10 of the Enforcement Rule of the Animal Protection Act, and discuss ways to improve relevant systems with the MAFRA in order to prevent consumer damages. Furthermore, it has also advised consumers to confirm whether animal sellers have registered their business* before purchase, and to carefully read their contracts to check whether the animal sellers comply with the Criteria for the Settlement of Consumer Disputes in case where animals get sick or die soon after purchase.
* Whether the animal sellers are registered ones can be found on the homepage of the Animal Protection Management System (www.animal.go.kr).
|Next||Measures need to be taken for the management of eyelash perming agent|
|Prev||Result of monitoring on domestic distribution of products recalled overseas in 2019|