Consumer protection in Hong Kong

Looking for a lip balm? HK$39 product likely to be as effective as one costing HK$160, consumer watchdog says

Consumer Council cites lip balm study by Britain-based group; also urges car agents to bring in safer vehicles with the Autonomous Emergency Braking system

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 October, 2017, 7:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 October, 2017, 12:08am

Lip balms sold in Hong Kong were likely to be equally effective even in cases where the price difference between products was as much as four times, the city’s consumer watchdog said on Monday.

The Consumer Council made these comments at its monthly press conference, where it also cited findings from its own and other consumer product studies.

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The study on lip balms was conducted by the United Kingdom-based International Consumer Research and Testing, an independent consortium of consumer organisations.

It asked users to test 26 lip balms, 10 of which are sold in Hong Kong and cost between HK$39 and HK$160. Five of the 10 products scored 3 out of 5 points, while the rest scored 3.5 out of 5 points. The Consumer Council said it ranked the products “medium” for effectiveness.

“All of the 10 balms have similar effectiveness, even though they are priced from HK$39 to HK$160,” said council spokesman Professor Michael Hui King-man.

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Users who carried out the lip balm test applied the product on their arms and then assessed how moist the area felt after two hours. They repeated the test after another four hours.

Subsequently, they assessed the samples based on their packaging, and whether the product felt sticky or greasy when they used it.

The most expensive of the 10 lip balms was from Dr Hauschka. It cost HK$160 and scored 3 points. A product by eos, costing HK$39, scored 3.5 points.

Only two of the 10 products stated an expiry date and the length of its shelf life, said Professor Hui, who added that consumers should choose products with care.

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Meanwhile, the watchdog also reported on a car crash safety test of 47 vehicles by the European New Car Assessment Programme.

The council found that only eight of the 47 models sold in Hong Kong had the Autonomous Emergency Braking system installed as standard equipment. With this system, in the event of a possible collision, the alarm would sound or the emergency brake would be automatically activated.

The council said that the system could not be installed for some other models even if car owners were willing to pay for it. Car agents, the council said, should import more cars that already have the system installed.