Font size
  • S
  • M
  • L

Be Careful of Consumer Trouble!

Jack participates in a social volleyball circle on weekends. Today, he was again enjoying practice; however, part way through he became aware that his teammate, Chul Soo, was somewhat out of sorts. During a break from practice Jack decides to talk to Chul Soo and find out what is wrong.

Be Careful of Consumer Trouble!

Jack

Hey Chul Soo, you seem to be a bit down. Is there something worrying you?

Chul Soo

Now that you mention it, yesterday my wife went with a "free" trial offer to an esthetic salon. However, she ended up being enrolled in a very expensive course of esthetic treatment....

Jack

I see. My Japanese wife had the same type of experience!

Chul Soo

Really?

Jack

Yes, apparently the people involved were quite intimidating when touting, and my wife ended up signing a contract. She really regretted caving into them, however, once she got home. To cut a long story short, we used the cooling-off system and had the contract cancelled.

Chul Soo

Cooling off?

Jack

Cooling off is a system whereby contracts can be cancelled unconditionally within a certain period of time. Cases such as what was experienced by your wife and mine are subject to cooling off. It is possible to cancel such contracts within eight days of them being concluded.

Chul Soo

So there is such a system! How do I go about using it?

Jack

If you consult with a consumer center, they will tell you how.

Chul Soo

I have never heard of these consumer centers? What sort of organizations are they?

Jack

They are local government agencies that receive complaints and inquiries about products and services. If you encounter any trouble regarding such matters, it is always good to contact the consumer center in your region of residence. If you don't know where your local consumer center is located, call up the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC) consumer hotline and they will tell you.

Chul Soo

I see! But my wife isn't that proficient in speaking Japanese. Would that be an issue?

Jack

In that case, it would be good to use the services of the Consumer Center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. If you make an appointment, they can offer consultations in English, Chinese, or Korean.

The pair continue to talk about consumer trouble.

Jack

Mail order shopping is convenient and I often use it myself, however, I have heard cases of trouble are also increasing in number.

Chul Soo

Yes, a work colleague was rather annoyed that something he bought from an Internet shop failed to be delivered.

Jack

I have also heard of cases where the products delivered are totally different from those described on websites. I should point out that Internet shopping and mail order fall outside the cooling-off system. However, if rules for returning products are not displayed in advertising or on websites, if consumers shoulder the cost of shipping, they can return products within eight days of receiving them to from where they were ordered.

Chul Soo

So by getting in contact with a consumer center, they can tell me more?

Jack

Of course. In resolving consumer trouble, speed is of the essence. Thus, rather than worrying about something alone, it's better to seek consultation as quick as possible.

Chul Soo

I see. And more than anything, when shopping or entering into a contract, it is important to carefully think about matters beforehand. Jack thanks for everything.

■Consumer Hotline, National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan
Tel: 0570-064-370
*Can direct callers to the closest consumer center.


■Consumer Center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government
http://www.shouhiseikatu.metro.tokyo.jp/sodan/sodan.html  (in Japanese only)
*Offer consultations both over the phone and face-to-face at the Consumer Center of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

http://www.shouhiseikatu.metro.tokyo.jp/sodan/sodan_foreign.html  (in Japanese only)
*Accept requests for consultation in foreign languages (English, Chinese, and Korean).


■A list of consumer consultation contacts in Tokyo
(Contacts in the 23 Wards)
http://www.shouhiseikatu.metro.tokyo.jp/link/mado_ku.htm  (in Japanese only)
(List of Contacts in Cities and Towns)
http://www.shouhiseikatu.metro.tokyo.jp/link/mado_shi.html  (in Japanese only)