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Consumer Protection Bill Gets New Input

The newly-revised draft of the Shanghai Consumer Protection Regulation for the first time includes training programs, apartments and online serivces on its supervision list while also covering a recall system for defective goods.

The draft was discussed by the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress Friday.

"Compared with the current rule enacted in 1994, the new version enlarges its supervion scope by including disputes occurring in some new sectors, which have witnessed rising complaints, such as housing properties and cars, and training service," said Zhang Wenwei, director of the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau.

With Internet becoming popular, online sales are a new marketing trend. But consumers have been overcharged, often ending up with shabby goods and no recourse in the absence of a regulation to protect their interests. To tackle the problem, the revised draft will set criteria on the quality of products sold online.

Besides, the draft, for the first time, clarifies that sellers who insult or defame consumers will have to pay compensation for mental anguish.

The goods recall system, in force in many foreign countries, like the US and Japan, was also included in the rules but not before hectic discussions on its merits.

Ren Huidian, a committee member, admitted that the system will serve to protect consumers. But he thinks the time is not ripe.

"The recall system, targeting all the commodities with unsolvable defects, should be covered by state law," Ren said. "If only Shanghai adopts the system, it can't work for products from other cities."

(eastday.com June 22, 2002)

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