Policies on screening complaints of alleged TDO violations

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Dear Customs and Excise Department,

I would like to seek the following clarifications regarding your policies on the screening of suspected violations of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap. 362) ("TDO") by licensed money lenders:

1) What is your office's scope and purview in relation to complaints made against money lenders for violations of the TDO? Are licensed money lenders and complaints against them considered "exempt persons" or "excluded products" under Schedule 3 and 4 of the TDO?

2) Does your office have jurisdiction to investigate complaints of:
(a) TDO violations by licensed money lenders who have no money lending operations?
(b) Licensed money lenders carrying out business activities outside of money lending (such as selling electronic phones)?

3) Under what circumstances do you refer complaints of TDO violations to the Hong Kong Police Force ("HKPF")? What factors determine which office investigates into a TDO complaint?

4) Please provide statistics on the number of complaints your office has received in the past 5 years which have involved money lenders. Out of those complaints, how many were referred to the HKPF?

Yours faithfully,

Charlie

香港海關

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In response to:




Freedom of Information request - Policies on screening complaints of
alleged TDO violations

[FOI #682 email]
to:
[Customs and Excise Department request email]
17.06.2021 14:45
Show Details

Dear Customs and Excise Department,

I would like to seek the following clarifications regarding your policies
on the screening of suspected violations of the Trade Descriptions
Ordinance (Cap. 362) ("TDO") by licensed money lenders:

1) What is your office's scope and purview in relation to complaints made
against money lenders for violations of the TDO? Are licensed money lenders
and complaints against them considered "exempt persons" or "excluded
products" under Schedule 3 and 4 of the TDO?

2) Does your office have jurisdiction to investigate complaints of:
(a) TDO violations by licensed money lenders who have no money lending
operations?
(b) Licensed money lenders carrying out business activities outside of
money lending (such as selling electronic phones)?

3) Under what circumstances do you refer complaints of TDO violations to
the Hong Kong Police Force ("HKPF")? What factors determine which office
investigates into a TDO complaint?

4) Please provide statistics on the number of complaints your office has
received in the past 5 years which have involved money lenders. Out of
those complaints, how many were referred to the HKPF?

Yours faithfully,

Charlie

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香港海關

Our File Reference: (766) in C&E CPB FCPN/60/26

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your enquiry dated 17 June 2021.

Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, it is an offence for any person to
apply a false trade description to any goods or service; or supply or
offer to supply any goods or service to which a false trade description is
applied.  Besides, any trader who engages in a commercial practice that
omits or hides material information or provides material information in a
manner that is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely, or fails to
identify its commercial intent and as a result causes, or is likely to
cause, an average consumer to make a transactional decision commits an
offence.  The maximum penalty upon conviction of the offence is a fine of
$500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

Since each case has its unique situation, they should therefore be judged
with reference to relevant facts and circumstances when deciding whether a
trader has contravened the Ordinance.

Regarding your request for information about the complaints of money
lender, we regret that Customs does not have breakdown specifically for
the relevant industry.

Customs would like to remind consumers that before signing contract of
purchase, they should pay attention to all terms and conditions, in
particular on clauses of restrictions imposed on them. Consumers should
also patronize traders with good reputation and avoid prepaying a large
amount of money.  All contracts of purchase, receipts and invoices should
be kept as evidence in case dispute occurred.

Customs attaches great importance to protecting consumer rights.  Members
of the public may report any suspected violations of the Ordinance to the
Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or through email
[email address].

Customs and Excise Department

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