Japan Govt Adopts Bill on Regular Purchase Scam

Politics

Tokyo, March 5 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government adopted Friday a bill aimed at deterring deceptive online marketing practices of talking consumers into making regular purchases of expensive commodities by initially offering such products for free.

The bill to revise the law on specified commercial transactions, adopted at the day’s cabinet meeting, calls for slapping criminal charges on violators. The government aims to enact the bill during the ongoing parliamentary session, which is slated to run through June 16.

According to the Consumer Affairs Agency, malicious practices of attracting consumers with free or low-priced goods to make them sign regular purchase contracts are spreading across Japan. In 2020, the number of consultations about falling victim to such merchandising increased by more than 10,000 from the previous year to some 56,000, apparently because more and more people started to shop online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the revised law, consumers will be able to cancel contracts signed without knowledge that they were for making regular purchases, while sellers will be obliged to clearly display information about the final price and number of commodities being sold and the timing of shipment.

In these kinds of information are not available for consumers or false information is indicated, individual sellers will face a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to 3 million yen, while corporations will be subject to a fine of up to 100 million yen.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press