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Consumer Rights Day sparks boom in complaint censorship

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

16:00, March 15, 2012

Consumer Rights Day has turned into big business for companies who charge brands to remove bad complaints from websites, Beijing News reported Thursday.

Websites, including names such as 315, have turned what should be a day to campaign for consumer's rights, into a booming business by offering to remove customers' complaints for a fee.

There are hundreds of such websites in Beijing alone.

Lin Xiaowu, who refused to give his real name, has three websites related to "315".

"My website lives on 315. Many similar websites feed on three things: consumer's complaints, companies' public relation fees and social credibility," he said.

"The number of complaints reaches a peak around March 15, when we make the biggest fortune," he said. Since February, his business volume has doubled.

After they spot a complaint that is published on a website, they will inform the target company, some of whom will pay to delete the posts.

A post costs 300 yuan ($47.38) to 10,000 yuan. "We delete 30-40 posts and make tens of thousands of yuan in a best day," said Lin.

They never respond to consumers' complaints. "Consumers are taken advantage of from the beginning to the end," said Lin.


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