Paradise lost in the mall

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 August, 1999, 12:00am

I am very sorry to have to say that our slogan projected to the outside world that Hong Kong is a 'shopping paradise' is the biggest lie.

We face traps which are laid by shops, in our day-to-day transactions at retail outlets.

It is not just the tourist who is at risk. Even Hong Kong residents are dismayed to find themselves being tricked.

I have tried to avoid the pitfalls by following the rule of only shopping in recognised chain stores, or stores in large shopping malls, so when my daughter came home for her summer holiday, I told her only to buy from decent shops. She bought a pair of Italian-made sandals for $350. She had worn them for only two days when a strap on the left sandal broke off. Then she bought a ring in a jewellery shop for $380. After a short time, it broke in two.

We sent it back to be fixed and were told there would be a $150 repair fee. If this happened to me in a country I was visiting, I would probably tell all my friends that I had been ripped off and warn them against visiting the country.

I wish the Government would try harder to protect consumers' rights, so that eventually we can rightly call the SAR a shoppers' paradise.