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E-commerce concerns addressed

By Wang Xinyuan (Global Times)

08:11, March 15, 2013

False advertisements, counterfeit products and fraud are some of the main concerns for consumers in using e-commerce and Internet services, official data showed Thursday. And with World Consumer Rights Day falling on Friday, many e-commerce service providers have vowed to improve their product quality and services.

Online shopping and Internet services ranked first and third, respectively, among the top sources of complaints filed by consumers in 2012, Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement on its official website Thursday.

"Internet-related complaints increased by 50 percent in 2012 from the year before," the statement said, noting that the major problems are exaggeration of product features, late delivery, poor after-sales service, and quality issues.

According to statistics from the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, online shopping and Internet-related services were the top areas for consumer complaints in each month of 2012.

The situation is the same in Liaoning and Hebei provinces, according to local authorities.

Online shopping accounts for 42 percent of all consumer complaints, social networking website said Thursday. "Online shopping fraud is a persistent nightmare for consumers," the report said.

Some popular e-commerce providers offered promises of improved services Thursday to reassure consumers., the online shopping mall of China's largest home appliance retailer, said that all the products sold on its platform are genuine, without any counterfeits., China's largest B2C and C2C retail website, is known for hosting millions of small online stores selling cheap items from clothes to computers.

The company announced on its official Weibo Thursday that it would begin a program offering refunds and compensation to consumers who buy counterfeit products, initially covering just mobile phones and digital cameras, if they are proven to be fake by designated third-party agencies.

Taobao was listed as No.1 among e-commerce firms that consumers complain about, Xinhua reported Thursday, citing statistics from the China Association for Quality Promotion.

Many consumers posted messages on, with some saying they welcomed the gesture but others raising doubts about it. Some sellers said that at least half of the third-party testing fees should be shouldered by the buyers, or it would encourage buyers to request unnecessary tests.

"It is hard to trust the vendors' self-discipline, and users have difficulty in identifying fake products. There is not enough market regulation of e-commerce," Lu Zhen­wang, an independent e-commerce analyst, told the Global Times Thursday.

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