On August 13, Hong Kong Consumer Council publicly condemned 7 pharmacies for operating with wicked sales that have gravely harmed consumers’ rights and interests.
According to the introduction of Hong Kong Consumer Council, individual cases of complaints about ginseng & marine products, traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese patent medicine continue to rise in recent years. In 2004, such complaints totaled 845 cases, up by 22% compared with the previous year. This number reached 531 in the first seven months of 2015, up by 13% compared with 470 cases of the previous year.
The seven pharmacies named are as follows:
Name and Address
Prestige Pharmacy Limited, G/F., 70 Percival Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Dragon City Drug Manor Ltd., Shop G, G/F., 1A-1L Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Great Medicine Manor Ltd., Shop A, G/F., Hong Kong Mansion, 1-4A Yee Woo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Dragon City Medicines Ltd., Shop B, G/F., 54 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Chung Wang Tong Medicine Co. Ltd., G/F., 522 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong
Hang Tai Dispensary, Portion 1, G/F., Eastern Portion, No. 15B Nelson Street, Kowloon
Long Sing Dispensary, Portion 1, G/F., Eastern Portion, No. 15B Nelson Street, Kowloon
According to Hong Kong Consumer Council, complaints about the above seven pharmacies reached 127 cases involving more than $1.5 million in the first seven months of this year. Among these 127 cases, only 35 reached reconciliation after Hong Kong Consumer Council stepped in, representing less than 30% of the total cases, much lower than the 70% average level of mediation cases of Hong Kong Consumer Council. The involved pharmacies mainly target at tourists and usually do not admit and cooperate when being complained. They maintain malpractices in business operations that have harmed consumers’ rights and interest.
Fraudulent Means of Bad Pharmacies
1. No clear indication of price. The sales clerk usually mumbles a seemingly “reasonable” price when being asked by a customer, but the clerk would charge 10 times and even 100 times of the price after having the credit card of the consumer. During this process, the clerk would distract the consumer or cover the sum of consumption from the consumer, making it difficult for the consumer to find the unreasonable amount of consumption when signing the credit card or entering the password of the credit card.
2. Secretly change the unit of measurement. When a consumer asks a sales clerk about the price of some seafood or medicine, the clerk would say that the unit of measurement is “Jin” (half a kilo), but it would be “Liang” (50g) and even “Qian” (5 grams) when the seafood or medicine are sliced up or pulverized. When the consumer questions the price, the clerk would say that the deal cannot be canceled on the grounds that the product has been sliced up or pulverized.
3. Forced purchase by intimidation. Employees of these pharmacies are usually ardent in sales, like talking to customers without stop, and make customers relax vigilance and be unexpectedly tricked. In contrast, when a complainant discovers any problem and requests the return, the sales clerk would act badly and toughly while other clerks would surround the complainant who would finally give in under the pressure.
Warnings on Shopping to Consumers
At this point, Hong Kong Consumer Council is urging industry self-regulation and strengthened supervision by law enforcement agencies. At the same time, Hong Kong Consumer Council especially warns consumers of the malpractices of such pharmacies.
1. Before buying something, consumers should firstly look around so as to learn about the price of other stores; when there is no marked price, consumers should ask about the price, unit and currency value of each product.
2. Check the unit of measurement when buying ginseng, cornucervi, seafood or medicine to see whether it’s Jin, Liang or Qian; consumers should try not to let a clerk slice up or pulverize the product before making the payment.
3. When making a payment by credit card, consumers must check the amount of consumption before signing it or entering the password; if the inquiry of price is avoided, consumers need to be highly vigilant, sober-minded and clear-headed and avoid any transaction when having no clear ideas or intentions.
4. When finding being deceived after buying something, consumers could call the police or seek help from Hong Kong Consumer Council under the condition of ensuring personal safety; consumers should also keep all bills and products for possible compensations in the future.
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