The Hangzhou government approved the city’s draft regulations on Internet transaction yesterday. The bylaw is expected to be the first e-commerce regulations in China.
Hangzhou is home to 29,725 e-commerce websites, including such giants as Tmall.com and Taobao.com. They have more than 9 million online shops with a sales turnover of more than 2 trillion yuan (US$328 billion) last year.
However, consumer complaints over goods purchased online also increased sharply in recent years. Local consumer rights protection authorities received 28,651 complaints in the first ten months last year and 276 illegal cases have been investigated.
The draft regulations require all online shops to register with the industrial and commercial administrations, provide business information to the platform operator and show their business licenses on the front page of their online shops. A third-party platform should provide a link to a shop owner’s business license and store transaction data for at least two years.
Shops will be fined up to 20,000 yuan for forcing buyers to delete negative comments through repeated phone calls or verbal threats. Online shoppers are entitled to a full refund as long as their purchased goods are returned within seven days.
The regulations are expected to take effect on March 15, the World Consumer Rights Day.