Online Shopping and Payment

Q&A on online purchases of home appliances

Updated: Jul 8, 2019 chinadaily.com.cn Print
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1.What kind of platforms should I choose?

For the online purchase of home appliances, especially white goods worth thousands of yuan, consumers are advised to buy them at large online trading platforms or a brand’s flagship store with good credibility because both their products and after-sales service are more reliable and guaranteed.

2. How do I make rational choices when buying online home appliances?

First of all, consumers should be clear about the discount and price reduction rules, checking the usable range of the coupons, equivalent cash vouchers, and shopping red envelopes. Many vouchers are restricted to some specific commodities.

Secondly, consumers need to pay attention to the after-sales service policy and product delivery information, including who is responsible for the delivery, the length of the guarantee period, and which side provides after-sales maintenance services.

Third, consumers should inspect the product carefully as soon as they receive it and confirm its type, appearance, and good condition before signing for it. Should any defect or damage be found, it should be clarified immediately to prevent unnecessary trouble.

3. What is the safest payment method?

Most of the e-commerce platforms support multiple payment methods, such as a third-party payment platform, online banking service, cash on delivery, and offline remittances. Since home appliances are more expensive than general merchandise and the payments are larger, it is recommended that consumers choose a third-party payment platform or cash on delivery. It is also important to pay attention to personal information protection and payment security.

4. What if the commodity I receive is inconsistent with the one I ordered?

When a consumer finds the home appliance product received does not conform with the one described on the e-commerce platform, due to faults in the business operation or distribution process, the consumer can negotiate with the operator and ask for an exchange or refund according to relevant provisions, with charges and losses arising from the exchange or return to be borne by the operator.

If the operator refuses to fulfill the obligations or does not assume the responsibilities, the consumer can protect his or her rights and interests by applying for mediation through the consumers association, filing a complaint with the administrative organizations, applying for arbitration, or suing in court.

5. Which party is liable for return expenses of online purchase of home appliances?

According to the reasons for the return of a home appliance purchased online, the return expenses can be borne either by the operator or the consumer.

The operator needs to bear the return expenses when the consumer claims the return of goods due to quality problems with the goods or damage and defects caused during delivery. According to the Interim Measures for the seven-day Unreasonable Return of Online Purchase of Goods officially implemented on March 15, 2017, consumers can enjoy no-reason return within seven days after purchasing the goods. Thus, consumers are given the right to “repent” of the online purchase of the home appliance. However, the expenses incurred in returning goods in this situation are borne by consumers.

The consumers may not enjoy the right to return goods within seven days after shopping without reason under the following circumstances: the unauthorized repair, modification, and destruction of electronic and electric products, alteration of the China Compulsory Certification indicator label or machine serial number, irreparable signs of use in appearance, and trace of data use such as activation, authorization information or improper personal data retention.

6. Is there a platform dedicated to helping consumer rights’ protection?

To better protect consumer rights, the China Consumers Association launched the e-commerce consumer rights protection platform on March 15, 2016. Based on the existing complaints and consultation systems, e-commerce enterprises and platforms are able to handle complaints on this platform, resolve difficulties in remote settlement of online shopping disputes and help consumers protect their rights effectively.

As of October 22, 2018, 494 e-commerce enterprises from 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities had handled disputes on the platform, with a successful mediation rate of 86 percent. The e-commerce enterprises include: Taobao, JD, Suning, Vipshop, Amazon, Ctrip, Qunar.com, Youku Tudou, and Meituan, just to name a few.

With this consumer rights protection platform, when consumers encounter disputes in online shopping, they only need to complain to the local consumers association, and the complaint information will be forwarded to the relevant e-commerce platform that will deal with the complaint accordingly. If no settlement is reached between the e-commerce platform and consumers, the case will be returned for handling by the consumers association.

After receiving the consumer’s complaints sent from the consumers association, the e-commerce enterprise or platform must process the complaint within seven working days. If it fails to do so, the consumers association will see to it that the e-commerce enterprise or platform settles the dispute within three working days.

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