As constantly reported by the media, some mainland Chinese tourists were trapped in shopping spots and were forced and even threatened to shop while traveling in Hong Kong and Macao. More seriously, a mainland Chinese tourist was beaten to death in Hong Kong on the 20th, which is a deeply saddened case. Competent authorities are expected to punish unlawful acts according to the law and resolutely safeguard consumers’ legitimate rights and interests. China Consumers Association (CCA) has noticed that most cases exposed occurred in “low-price tour” groups. According to the analysis of consumer complaints about tourism handled by consumer associations nationwide, forced shopping or disguised form of forced shopping exists without exception in all below-price or excessively low-price tour groups or shopping groups, or in “no charge tour” or “minus charge tour” groups. In this case, CCA puts forth the following observations.
1.Relevant government departments need to take a hard line against
unreasonable low-price tourism products. What behind low-price sales must be forged and fake commodities and forced consumption. The Tourism Law formally enforced on October 1, 2013 stipulates that travel agencies shall not organize and inveigle tourists into unreasonable low-price tourist activities, or take commissions or illegitimate benefits by arranging shopping or other paying tourism projects. This stipulation aims to regulate travel agencies’ behaviors and safeguard consumers’ rights and interests. At present, some travel agencies are still selling tourism products at unreasonably low prices that are obviously lower than costs, which have infringed upon consumers’ rights and interests and seriously disturbed the tourist market order. These behaviors of travel agencies are suspected of violating The Tourism Law and Anti-unfair Competition Law and thus should be seriously investigated and punished according to the law. CCA suggests relevant government departments to strengthen cooperation and work harder to clamp down on these activities so as to effectively deter the players releasing and marketing illegal tourism products. Any of these activities, once discovered, would be cracked down on resolutely. In the meantime, CCA also calls on the setup of a blacklist system for illegal business operators to purify the tourist market environment according to the law.
2.Tourism operators and practitioners shall abide at legal minimum limit.
Organizing low-price tour groups in seek of profiteering by arranging shopping or separate paying tourism projects is just a temporary relief for the fiercely competitive tourist industry. CCA wishes to see tourism operators and practitioners scrupulously abiding by the law. As a new industry, the tourist industry has a huge development potential and will provide good development opportunities for tourism operators and practitioners. The healthy development of the tourism industry cannot be talked about without the support of all walks of life and thus requires the care and attention of relevant business operators and practitioners. Relevant practitioners shall strictly abide by the law, seek benefits by constantly improving their tourism service quality and public praise by continuously improving consumers’ satisfaction and resolutely draw a clear line with swindles.
3.Tourist consumers should firmly say “No” to unreasonable low-price tour.
Firstly, tourist consumers should not participate in unreasonable low-price travels of any form to make this kind of product lose the market. Secondly, tourist consumers should attach importance to signing a formal tourism service contract with tourism operators, make clear the rights and responsibilities and safeguard their own rights and interests. Thirdly, tourist consumers should actively report such kind of tours once discovered to tourism authorities or price regulators to prevent more consumers from being tricked. Fourthly, once being trapped in a low-price tour or suffering impairment of rights and interests, tourist consumers should try to collect relevant evidences and claim their legitimate rights and interests under the precondition of ensuring their safety.
Copyright of 2002-2014 copyright China Consumers Association of Beijing ICP No. 05014033