Fake-goods deadline a month away

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 May, 2007, 12:00am

Retailers selling their wares to tour groups will have to comply with tough new Travel Industry Council measures by the middle of next month, a source familiar with the situation said.

The deadline misses the initial June 1 target date set by the council.

'We need to give shops two weeks to sign the agreement while the council needs seven working days to go through all the documents. By that time, it'll be the second week of June but the measures will become effective no later than June 16,' the source said.

The council held an extraordinary board meeting yesterday to ratify the new terms of agreement for registered shops.

Shops that want to conduct tour group business must sign the new agreement and breaches might result in deregistration from the council. Fifty-seven shops have already registered with the council.

The new measures include stretching the refund period from 14 days to six months and tightening the council's demerit system. Shops will be automatically named on the council's website once 10 complaints have been accumulated through the council, the Tourism Commission, the Tourism Board or the Consumer Council, over three months.

A council working group will also be set up to determine whether goods can be returned for refunds when disputes arise between tourists and shops.

Recent scams involving tourists, particularly among mainland groups, have put increasing pressure on the 29-year-old industry watchdog to take concrete action against rogue retailers.

The council has used the threat of membership suspension or termination as the primary weapon against unscrupulous shops and travel agents, but recent high-profile incidents involving fakes and forced shopping have highlighted the urgent need to take a tougher stance.