With goods and services just a click away these days, online shoppers can easily get carried away. The convenience also comes with risk, as reflected in the rising number of complaints and even frauds. This is not helped when consumer protection legislation fails to catch up with the boom spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. The problems were put into perspective in a recent survey by a political party. One in three respondents were regular shoppers on the internet, many of whom used mainland e-commerce platforms. While more than 60 per cent said the epidemic had prompted them to shop more often on the internet, up to 45 per cent had unpleasant experiences, ranging from products being inferior than advertised to long waits for delivery. The findings concur with a recent report by the Consumer Council. The number of complaints related to internet shopping reached 13,642 last year, almost a threefold rise from the previous year. Problems included non-delivery or losses, charge disputes and shop closures. Chinese tech giants are using blind boxes to gamify e-commerce The situation on the mainland was similar. Nearly half the 12,000 people polled by the China Consumers Association said they had a dispute with a goods or service provider last year; and 38 per cent of those were dissatisfied with the outcome after lodging a complaint. Despite the revision of the Consumer Protection Law in 2013 and the passage of the Electronic Commerce Law in 2018, consumer protection on the mainland remains a work in progress. Hong Kong officials argue that shoppers are protected by various laws, such as a buyer has the right to reject defective goods unless he or she has a reasonable opportunity to examine them; and that a supplier of a service is obliged to carry it out with reasonable care and skill and within a reasonable time. The courts are also empowered to refuse to enforce, or to revise unconscionable terms in consumer contracts for the sale of goods or supply of services. To what extent are consumers protected by these clauses in real life is another matter though. The surge in online shopping makes a case for authorities on both sides to strengthen consumer protection and coordination over cross-border transaction disputes.