In Brief

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 12:00am

essential oils possible fire hazard

Consumers should take care when using household aromatherapy oils. The Consumer Council tested 29 essential oil products and, while it found them to be relatively harmless, it noted some contain high levels of isopropyl alcohol, between 80 and 95 per cent, which could pose a fire hazard. At least eight fires in Hong Kong have been associated with essential oil products over the past two years.

The council also warned that pure essential oils could have side effects for some people, including skin irritation and possible implications for pregnant women.

many people undeterred by internet scams

People are still quite willing to disclose confidential information over the internet despite various online scams.

Surveys of 3,000 broadband users in May and August found 41.6 per cent had sent such information online, while one-third seemed unaware of the need for security measures. The surveys also found that while browsing the net was the most popular use for broadband, 36.4 per cent of people played online games, while 24.2 per cent used online financial and banking services. Almost 23 per cent of users had utilised service support hotlines for their broadband providers, with 70 per cent reporting they were helpful. But an alarming 38.9 per cent said they had difficulty accessing the lines.

Satisfaction ratings for providers correlated highly with the cost of the service, the average of which was $167.50 a month.

Pre-paying for services carries its own risks

The council received 975 complaints, for amounts totalling almost $10 million, related to prepaid services such as health clubs, dining memberships and timeshare schemes, in the first eight months of the year.

It warns consumers that while there is nothing wrong in principle with paying now to consume later, the practice carries additional risks. There is no legislation covering recovery of outstanding monies, except through legal action, and consumers face the prospect of substantial losses should the operator become bankrupt. People are advised to consider the matter carefully before committing to such schemes.


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