Beijing courts advise online shoppers to take care buying protective goods

(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated : 2020-03-12

Beijing courts called for consumers to collect materials, including product advertising, transaction information and their chat records with sellers when they are buying protective goods against novel coronavirus pneumonia online to prevent unnecessary legal problems.

The Beijing Internet Court said on March 11 that it has received 18 epidemic-related applications in which consumers decided to initiate lawsuits against sellers or e-commerce platforms after finding vendors of protective products they bought online could not guarantee time of delivery due to traffic control measures carried out in many places, or online services they booked could not be implemented.

Given that many people had to stay at home quarantined due to the epidemic, Lu Zhengxin, a judge from the court, estimated that disputes relating to online entertainment, such as products and services on digital music and online games, will have an obvious rise in near future.

Also on Wednesday, Beijing Xicheng District People's Court said that it has received many legal consultations regarding online shopping recently, of which, more than 20 percent related to protective materials purchases, making up most of the total.

If a seller cannot deliver products, such as surgical masks, or cancel orders because his or her goods are allocated as supplies to prevent the disease, the seller will not need to pay consumers, only when providing related evidence, according to Zhao Lin, a judge from the court.

She said buyers can find e-commerce platforms to complain on if goods for preventing the epidemic are found to be fake or have quality-related problems, adding consumers can ask e-commerce platform operators to compensate them first if they have a difficult time figuring out real names, addresses or contacts of online sellers.

To avoid unnecessary legal troubles in during the outbreak, she suggested consumers be more careful and sensible when buying epidemic-related goods online.

"Collecting materials, such as product advertising, transaction messages and chat records with sellers as evidence is also a necessity," she added.