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Protection of Consumers' Rights - the Trade Descriptions Ordinance
[20 Jul 2013]

The Trade Descriptions Ordinance, Chapter 362 (the TDO), presently only prohibits false trade descriptions to goods and not services. In response to strong public demands for enhancing protection of consumers against other commonly seen unfair trade practices in consumer transactions, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has completed a review of the existing consumer protection legislation and proposed improvements through amendments to the TDO. The Trade Descriptions (Unfair Trade Practices) (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (Amendment Ordinance) was eventually passed on 17 July 2012 by the Legislative Council and its key changes include:

  • the expansion of the definition of “trade description” in respect of goods to mean any indication, direct or indirect, and by whatever means given, with respect to any goods or parts of goods such as price indication;
  • the extension of the coverage of the Ordinance to prohibit false trade descriptions in respect of services made in consumer transactions, and to define “services” under any consumer contract;
  • the creation of new offences on such practices as misleading omissions, aggressive commercial practices, bait advertising, bait-and-switch and wrongly accepting payment; and
  • an introduction of a civil compliance-based enforcement mechanism in addition to criminal sanctions to promote adherence to the TDO.

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