Blind box cannot be reduced to a tool for businesses to "cut leeks"

  Shi Fengchu

  Recently, the Shanghai Municipal Consumer Protection Commission issued a survey report on the blind box consumption of minors, pointing out that blind box products have problems such as premium prices and unfair transactions. The secondary market is suspected of speculation, and minors are more likely to become addicted to purchases.

Take a gel pen blind box sold on an e-commerce platform as an example. There are 14 types of ordinary characters plus 2 types of hidden characters. If shipped randomly, one is 6.8 yuan, and the price is increased to 7.8. If the price of the hidden character model is designated, the price has risen to 68.8 yuan.

(November 29, "China Consumer News")

  In the past two years, many people, whether adults or teenagers, are keen to buy blind boxes, and this has formed a "blind box economy".

According to the traditional model of selling pens, take off the cover of the blind box and sell it as an ordinary gel pen. The average retail price is only about 3 to 4 yuan, and with the blind box packaging, the hidden version can be as high as 14 times the premium.

At the same time, the blind box can be specified, and the merchant can control the probability.

In this regard, the regulatory authorities and merchants should fulfill their reasonable obligations to avoid false propaganda, reduce induced propaganda, and prevent blind boxes from becoming a tool for merchants to "cut leeks".

  According to the survey, both adults and teenagers are prone to become addicted to blind box purchases.

In order to collect a variety of styles or get hidden models, some students will buy blind boxes frequently or in large quantities. If the styles that are repeated or disliked are often exchanged with classmates or left unused, they will continue to buy, which will bring unnecessary expenses to the family.

  Consumers often buy blind boxes of stationery to satisfy a certain psychological experience rather than the actual value of the stationery. For them, the greatest pleasure of opening a blind box comes from the moment of opening.

Studies have shown that in the face of the temptation of blind boxes, teenagers are often more addictive than adults.

As long as there is no fraud or inducement when selling blind boxes, merchants can operate with confidence.

However, the use of blind box marketing does not mean that businesses can arbitrarily mark high prices, or conceal the "probability of winning" and other behaviors such as scoring the ball.

  Consumers have the right to fair transactions and the right to know the truth.

Specifically, consumers have the right to obtain fair trading conditions such as quality assurance, reasonable prices, and correct measurement, and the right to know the quality and performance of the product and other information closely related to the product.

Although the blind box is a special product, consumers do not know the real situation of the purchased product in advance.

But this does not mean that consumers have been deprived of their fair trading rights and the right to know.

First, consumers have the right to know the approximate price or attributes of the goods in the blind box.

Second, the seller has the right to know the "probability of winning a prize" for buying a blind box.

If these two rights cannot be protected, the so-called "blind box" marketing is suspected of infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.

  Some people believe that if blind boxes are regulated as ordinary commodities, it would violate the original intention of the "blind box economy".

This view is not valid, because blind boxes belong to the category of ordinary commodities, and consumers cannot derogate necessary rights just because they buy blind boxes.

Even if a business exempts itself from obligations in the form of format clauses and shop notices, it may not have legal effect.

In other words, if blind boxes are treated as "privileged goods" over the "Consumer Rights Protection Law", "Product Quality Law", "Advertising Law" and "Anti-Unfair Competition Law", the "blind box business model" is similar. For prize-winning sales, lottery tickets should be subject to special supervision or be treated as "gambling".

  Blind boxes cannot be separated from the law.

Merchants cannot ignore the legitimate rights and interests of consumers under the banner of "blind box" and realize the purpose of "cutting leeks".

Operators should not only be responsible for the quality of the products, but also avoid false publicity and false advertisements. In particular, they should not regard young people who are not well involved in the world and lack the ability to judge and self-control as "leeks."

If businesses do not have self-discipline and self-regulation awareness and actions, they may face severe regulatory storms.

  Comics/Chen Bin