MORE staff and facilities are being provided for the Consumer Council in an attempt to cut the time it takes to process complaints and increase the number of tests for unsafe products. The council aims to cut investigation time from 21 to 17 days. It will receive a $10 million grant to boost consumer awareness of public rights and protection. Extra resources are needed for dealing with cases because they are becoming more complicated, said Consumer Council deputy chief executive Li Kai-ming. They are not needed because of any increase in complaints. The level of grievances has remained steady at around 10,000 a year but they are becoming more difficult to unravel as Hong Kong's economy and service industry develops. Transactions are becoming complicated by sales tactics and growing use of contracts. There has not been a rise in the time taken to deal with cases. The existing 21-day average is in line with previous targets. The council says 'one or two additional hands' are needed to deal with complaints and better computer facilities to improve record keeping. It has not yet worked out the extra level of funding required on top of this year's budget of about $40 million. Another policy initiative will be the provision of extra resources - the level of which also has not been specified - for conducting more tests on new and potentially unsafe products. The Consumer Council hopes to conduct another five or six tests every year in addition to the 25 to 30 tests currently conducted on goods such as electrical products and toys. The results are reported in Choice magazine. Potentially dangerous consumer goods will have to carry a safety label in both English and Chinese, a requirement which will be enforced by a special team in the Customs and Excise Department. More tests will also be conducted by the Government Laboratory and in accredited laboratories to enforce the tough provisions in ordinances against unsafe consumer goods. A Consumer Information Resource Centre will be established with a $10 million grant. 'Nowadays, consumers in Hong Kong are more aware of their rights but we also want them to know more about their responsibilities,' said Mr Li. Such responsibilities could include shopping around for the best price rather than finding the article on sale cheaper elsewhere and then lodging a complaint.