News : No Call to Prosecute Despite Complaints
Hong Kong, Sept 7, 2015 -- The Communications Authority has yet to prosecute any telecom company or broadcaster for bad sales practices - despite receiving nearly 1,800 complaints.
The amended Trade Descriptions Ordinance, which created new offenses banning bad sales practices for both goods and services in 2013, is enforced by the Customs and Excise Department as well as the authority, which focuses on telecoms and broadcasters.
So far the authority has received 1,793 complaints related to the ordinance, most of them on telecommunications.
Customs have so far prosecuted 149 cases.
An authority spokesman said that despite the large number of complaints, prima facie evidence was found in only a handful of cases.
Upon preliminary examination, 1,328 complaints were found to involve no contravention and the cases were closed.
Another 113 complaints - although not enough evidence of contravention was found - led to advisory letters reminding companies of the need to comply with the law.
The remaining 352 cases are being examined.
Telecoms and broadcasters are well aware of legal requirements and are less likely to commit an offense, the spokesman said, as the companies have been regulated by the now-repealed section 7M of the Telecommunications Ordinance since 2000.
Another reason is the more stringent rules of evidence under the new ordinance.
It is complicated to collect sufficient evidence against misconduct of traders involved in services and telesales.
From July 2012 to June 2013, the authority received a total of 5,156 complaints. It went down 46 percent to 2,782 for the 2014-15 period.
Those against mobile services, which got the lion's share of complaints, went down 37 percent to 1,704 in two years.
Lawmaker for the IT sector Charles Mok said many consumers complain to the authority about poor service quality, or hope to solve billing disputes.
"Their goal is not to take the service providers to court and they may be reluctant to make statements," he said.
He called upon the authority to analyze the complaints and inform the public about different sorts of contravention.
A typical consumer complaint is that internet transmission speed does not reach 100 megabits per second, as claimed in advertisements, he said.
"But the issue is technical and it is hard for the government to prove companies wrong," he added.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Communications Authority:
The Communications Authority is an independent statutory body established under the Communications Authority Ordinance.
Published: Wednesday, September 9, 2015