Dishonest shops face boycott by agencies

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 April, 2007, 12:00am

Shops found to have preyed on tourists could face a year-long boycott by travel agencies if a tightening of rules proposed by the industry watchdog is approved.

The Travel Industry Council will discuss the proposal when it meets on Tuesday. It will also discuss doubling from 14 days to a month the period during which travellers are guaranteed a full refund in the event they are not satisfied with goods they have bought.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Council is urging the government to plug legal loopholes to offer better protection to consumers, with a view to enacting a consumer protection law in the long term.

The actions by the two agencies come two weeks after a report by national broadcaster CCTV about Hong Kong shops selling fake goods to mainland visitors. The report led several mainland visitors to return to the city to seek refunds, with one filing a complaint to the Consumer Council. Customs officers have raided several shops, seizing hundreds of watches from one in To Kwa Wan, and police have made 13 arrests.

On Commercial Radio programme Forum yesterday, the executive director of Travel Industry Council, Joseph Tung Yao-chung, said its proposals aimed to deal with unscrupulous shops that registered with the council under a new name after being blacklisted.

'If the new shop has the same address as that of the one previously blacklisted, we will instruct our member agencies that within one year they should not take tourists to that shop to buy things,' he said.

Proprosal details were expected to be worked out by the middle of next month, he added. At present, 50 shops are registered with the council.

The newly appointed chief executive of the Consumer Council, Connie Lau Ying-hing, said extra staff would be deployed to help tourists during the Labour Day 'golden week' holiday next month. She said that in the long run, there was a need for comprehensive legislation to cover commercial transactions.

Quid pro quo

Shops registered with the Travel Industry Council offer a 14-day money-back guarantee. In return, the council promotes the shops to tourists and tour agents

Number of shops registered 50