Chinanews.com, August 8 -- The China Consumer Association released a hot spot on consumer rights protection in the first half of 4. The China Consumers Association, People's Daily Public Opinion Data Center, and China Consumer Magazine jointly sorted out and found that in the first half of 2023, relevant offline performances were "difficult to refund tickets", hotel and homestay contract breaking infringement disputes, food safety problems of well-known catering brands, poor service experience of video platform members, study tour infringement "traps", Carrefour supermarket shopping card restricted consumption, air mileage points cleared, shared charging treasure "good borrowing is difficult to return", Internet celebrity bamboo tube milk tea was exposed to food safety problems, Many cases, such as the issue of compulsory shopping by low-cost tour groups, involve prominent consumer rights protection issues.
1. There is a controversy over "difficulty in refunding" for offline performances
Social impact: 95.4
In the first half of the year, many consumers reported that they encountered problems such as "difficulty in refunding" in the process of offline performance consumption. Consumers complained that the change and refund measures of well-known ticketing platforms such as Damai.com and Fun Island were unreasonable, and topics such as "why are concerts making ticket refunds" once appeared on the hot search list of social platforms. Some public opinion questioned that at present, some organizers and ticketing platforms have adopted measures such as the real-name system in order to combat "scalpers", but have not matched and improved after-sales service, passing business risks and costs to consumers, which is contrary to the original intention of protecting consumer rights and interests.
In the relevant disputes, some ticketing platforms responded with the statement that "the cultural services carried behind the tickets are timeliness and scarcity, and once refunded, it will affect secondary sales", but this has not been recognized by the public. Many consumers believe that tickets sold in aviation, railway, film and other industries also have such characteristics, and relevant industries have introduced specific measures or actively supported the "refund and change" of tickets, and all parties in the offline performance industry should actively refer to such industry experience to properly solve the infringement concerns at a time when the offline performance market is hot.
2. Hotels and guesthouses have been exposed to a number of infringement disputes over contract renewal
Social impact: 90.4
Around the "May Day" holiday, the "price increase and contract destruction" of hotels and guesthouses has attracted the attention of public opinion, and many consumers have reported that the accommodation link has become a bad experience in their journey. Among hot topics such as "Woman's February booking was close to May Day and her order was canceled" and "B&B 'May Day' lied about being seized for prostitution due to price increase", consumers said that they encountered infringement disputes such as "breaking the contract" between hotel and homestay operators and booking platforms during their holiday trips.
In fact, consumers have a certain psychological tolerance for moderate price increases in holiday hotels and homestays. The disappointment of consumers mainly stems from the fact that at the moment of high enthusiasm for travel, what greets consumers is not accommodation services with more standardized management and more personalized experience as selling points, but merchants ignore consumers' rights and interests for economic interests, and change their tricks to breach the contract and infringe, which undoubtedly "poured cold water" on consumers' enthusiasm. Some consumers have questioned that some platforms' punishment measures for merchants for breach of contract are not sound enough, resulting in merchants daring to ignore the rights and interests of consumers. Public opinion calls on all parties in the hotel and homestay industry to show "sincerity" and actively change the status quo that infringement problems frequently appear every holiday.
Third, well-known catering brands were exposed to hidden dangers in food safety
Social impact: 86.5
During this year's "3.15", "Internet celebrity restaurant blue frog was exposed after kitchen chaos", "half a day demon trash can to retrieve the meal and serve it to customers", "Yoshinoya after eating cockroaches after inspection found 43", well-known catering brands were exposed to food safety problems in their stores, causing heated discussions among netizens, many consumers shouted "business ethics dare not compliment", "various routines make consumers lose trust", "how many restaurants can withstand the investigation".
In such incidents, how to improve supervision and let consumers "buy with confidence and eat with peace of mind" in the food field has become the focus of public opinion. Some brands use well-made meals and high-quality ingredients as their selling points to attract consumers to "pay" through various marketing methods, but there may still be food safety problems that infringe on consumer rights and interests under their carefully created brand "personalities". Once such hidden dangers are exposed, not only the brand reputation of the enterprises involved will be lost, but the overall image of the catering industry will also be affected. Public opinion believes that regulating online and offline interconnected catering brands and stores puts forward higher requirements for regulatory means. To protect the "safety on the tip of the tongue" of consumers, we cannot always rely on "undercover" exposure, so that supervision is more "keen" and needs to carry out a variety of paths to explore.
Fourth, the video platform membership service is "discounted"
Social impact: 85
At the beginning of this year, many members of video platforms complained about their poor consumption experience on social platforms, including limiting the number of login devices and limiting the clarity of screen casting, etc., some of them believed that some practices of video platforms were suspected of infringing on consumer rights and interests, such as consumers claiming to be "7-year-old fans of iQIYI" took iQIYI to court for "unilaterally changing the terms of the contract, which constitutes a breach of contract". Some consumers said that in recent years, the membership fees of video platforms such as Youku, iQiyi, and Tencent Video have been rising, but the rights and interests of members have been discounted, accusing video platforms of "coercive price increases" and criticizing video platforms for "eating ugly".
Public opinion believes that in the fiercely competitive market environment, video platform operators cannot pass on the pressure to consumers through clever names, or even "generate revenue" at the expense of consumer experience. At the same time, when video platforms take relevant measures to restrict account resale and disassembly, they should also avoid "accidentally harming" the basic rights and interests of consumers. Public opinion calls for video platforms to adopt a responsible business model in operation and sincerely provide thoughtful services for member users.
5. Infringement of study tours is frequent
Social impact: 84.8
During this year's short and long holidays and summer vacations, infringement issues in the consumption of study tours have attracted attention. "Parents exposed their children's participation in study tours and were scolded by instructors", "Some study trips did not study", "10,000 yuan Qingbei research became a photo at the school gate" and other events frequently appeared on the Internet hot search list. In such incidents, families have long hoped that their children can expand their horizons and improve their literacy through edutainment study tours, and do not hesitate to pay high fees to enroll their children in various "study camps", but they have encountered problems such as wrong goods, formalities, and inflated prices, and some research projects have even been found to have problems such as inadequate safety risk protection and staff punishing students. Many chaos has made parents and students "ride the excitement and return home", and many parents are discouraged.
In such cases, some research institutions obscure key information when publicizing, causing parents to misunderstand the real situation. Some institutions "bury traps" in contracts, and once an accident occurs, they shift the responsibility to insurance companies, individual students and even parents, resulting in some parents falling into a situation of "difficulty in defending their rights". Public opinion calls for strengthening the normative guidance of the "study tour" industry, promoting the survival of the fittest in the industry on the basis of protecting the rights and interests of consumers, and giving students and parents more space to choose, so as to achieve a win-win situation between operators and consumers.
6. Carrefour shopping card restricts consumption
Social impact: 80.4
In early January, media reported that Beijing, Shenyang, Kunming, Wuxi and other places had news of "Carrefour shopping card settlement restrictions", and a large number of consumers said that they were restricted when paying with shopping cards after shopping at Carrefour, which caused widespread concern in the society. Some consumers said that in the past, Carrefour's shopping card could be used to pay for all goods, but now only a small number of goods can be paid with shopping cards, which is suspected to be related to the operational difficulties encountered by many Carrefour stores.
Public opinion believes that the incident has exposed hidden dangers such as "the low cost of illegal by card issuers", resulting in infringement problems. According to a media investigation, from the model texts of card purchase agreements in Beijing, Jiangsu and other places, the liability for breach of contract is limited to returning the balance of the amount of the shopping card, and there is little agreement on the payment of liquidated damages to the defaulting party. This objectively results in a situation where the issuer's illegal cost is too low, and it is difficult to properly resolve consumer disputes.
7. The clearance of airline mileage points has caused consumer dissatisfaction
Social impact: 74.8
On June 6, actor Hu Bing posted a video on social platforms saying that the 18,50 China Eastern Airlines mileage points he had accumulated suddenly expired and questioned the airline's reminder service. For a while, topics such as airline point exchange, point expiration, and point service caused heated discussions. Hu Bing's experience is not an isolated case, but it is a major factor that has contributed to the popularity of the topic. According to the media, there have been many similar complaints against other airlines before, and the problem of "zero points" not only exists in the civil aviation field, but also involves hotels, catering, e-commerce and other fields.
Public opinion believes that the infringement of members' consumption points has existed for a long time. On the one hand, some consumers believe that consumption points are only benefits attached to merchants, and do not attach importance to this right, and do not know when their rights and interests are damaged. On the other hand, consumers are more passive than merchants, and there is not much room for negotiation in terms of consumption point rules. When consumers protect their rights and interests, they can often only "bargain" with customer service, and it is difficult to obtain the ideal solution. Public opinion calls for merchants to show sufficient sincerity in setting conditions such as point deduction, prize redemption, and time limit for using points when making points into value-added services to improve user stickiness, rather than just using this as a "gimmick" to increase new users, and not set up obstacles when consumers want to redeem points for benefits, causing infringement disputes such as "difficulty in redemption".
8. Shared charging treasure is accused of "good borrowing and difficult to return"
Social impact: 74
In recent years, with the continuous expansion of user scale and usage scenarios, problems such as unreasonable charging of shared charging treasures, low charging efficiency, good borrowing and not returning, still billing after return, forced false advertising, and over-limit acquisition of personal information have become "slots" for consumers, and "charging treasure assassins" have repeatedly appeared on the hot search list on the Internet, and related consumer rights protection incidents have attracted public attention. Some consumers complained that in order to return the "street electricity" shared charging treasure, they spent more than 100 yuan of fuel money to drive to the same place to return it; Some consumers said that they borrowed a "search for electricity" shared charging treasure, returned it on time, and found that they were still charged in the early morning of the next day, feeling "wronged"; Some consumers said that the "monster charging" charging treasure rented in different locations is 3 times more expensive to borrow 3 hours less, questioning the "pricing of the charging treasure" is a mystery.
In related disputes, consumers are often in a weak position compared with operating enterprises, and need to negotiate and communicate with operating enterprises many times in the process of rights protection, which takes time and effort to recover losses, and sometimes encounters delays, prevarication, and even deadlock in rights protection by operating enterprises. In addition, some consumers may also fail to detect false deductions or privacy leaks in a timely manner, resulting in damage to their rights and interests without knowing it. Public opinion believes that solving the current situation of frequent problems in the shared charging treasure industry requires the participation of all parties and joint management. In addition to clearly marking prices and other matters, enterprises also need to clearly indicate the feedback channels for consumer complaints to improve the efficiency of consumer dispute resolution.
9. Internet celebrity bamboo tube milk tea was exposed to food safety problems
Social impact: 73.7
"Bamboo tube milk tea" is a new Internet celebrity product in the second quarter of this year, but the controversy related to it is also rising on social platforms. Some consumers have reported that the "bamboo tube milk tea" sold by some merchants is not only expensive, the taste is not as good as expected, and there are even food safety risks. If a netizen posted a video exposed, a milk tea shop in Hangzhou's Tangqi Scenic Area "cleaned moldy bamboo tubes to be used to hold milk tea"; Some media exposed that the bamboo tube of the bamboo milk tea shop in the Nanjing Confucius Temple Scenic Area was not sterilized and was directly labeled and sold to customers, infringing on consumers' right to safety.
In the highly competitive new tea market, "bamboo tube milk tea" is a marketing attempt made by merchants to follow the trend of "beauty economy", and its popularity shows that such products have a side that suits consumer preferences. However, frequent controversies have shown that the inherent quality of this product is not satisfactory to the public. Public opinion calls on businesses not to trample on the "red line" of food safety in order to pursue profits, and relevant departments should continue to strictly supervise such "net celebrity" products to effectively protect the rights and interests of consumers.
10. There is a hidden problem of compulsory shopping in low-cost tour groups
Social impact: 64.3
On June 6, some netizens posted a video on social platforms exposing that a female tour guide in a tour group in Yunnan forced tourists to buy goods, and satirized dissatisfied tourists for "indifference and selfishness", and low-price tours "forced consumption" violated consumer rights and interests, which caused heated public opinion. In addition, some media investigations have found that in the low-cost tour group projects for the elderly launched by some travel agencies, there are many chaos such as "arbitrary change of itinerary", "slaughtering customers", "forced shopping" and "tourists being stranded".
Some consumers said that the main reason why problems that infringe on consumer rights and interests, such as forced shopping by low-priced groups, have become "stubborn diseases" is that tourism, as an experiential consumption, can only be judged after experience, making it difficult to protect rights. Especially after disputes arise, travel agencies often hinder consumer complaints on the grounds that the contract does not stipulate specific itinerary details, the number of shopping points and the length of stay. Public opinion calls on relevant departments to pay more attention to consumer complaints and reports related to the infringement of consumer rights and interests by low-price tours during key periods such as holidays, accurately crack down on illegal acts such as tricking registration, concealing rules, and compulsory shopping, eliminate "black businesses" of low-price tours that are "not worthy of the name", ensure the normal order of the tourism market, and let tourists enjoy a comfortable journey.
On the whole, all parties in the industry are actively exploring and adopting various measures to improve consumer experience, but they have also exposed many hidden risk points of infringement. First, some merchants or platforms have incomplete rights and interests protection measures that do not match actual needs, resulting in some safeguard measures failing to exert practical results, or forming new difficulties in rights protection, and lacking "sincerity". Second, when carrying out "Internet celebrity" marketing, some operators only pay attention to the "appearance" of commodity packaging and the "traffic" of brand communication, while ignoring the "inside" of product quality assurance, which has become an "IQ tax" disliked by consumers. Third, some industry practitioners take advantage of consumers' pursuit of "high quality and low price" to fight "crooked thinking", sacrifice service quality and even infringe on consumer rights and interests to "soothe consumer wool", resulting in continuous controversy. At the moment of promoting the continuous recovery of consumption, it is hoped that all parties in the industry will take the protection of consumer rights and interests as an important part of long-term planning in the subsequent development, take into account their own interests and the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, and completely change the frequent and high incidence of infringement in some fields. (Zhongxin Finance)