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[August 2015]

FY2014 Summary of Consumer Affairs Consultations received through PIO-NET

PIO-NET (Practical Living Information Online Network System) launched in 1984 connects computers in NCAC and local consumer centers across Japan to address more and more complicated consumer affairs problems. PIO-NET collects data on consumer complaints including harmful incident information among inquiries/complaints received by local consumer centers across Japan.

Based on the data registered in PIO-NET through the end of May 2015, NCAC has analyzed trends of FY2014 consumer affairs consultations.

Trends and characteristics of FY2014 consumer affairs consultations identified through PIO-NET

  • The number of consultations in FY2014 amounted to about 955,000 (about 940,000 in FY2013), increased for the second consecutive year.
  • The number of consultations on "false billing" charging fees for accessing sites although consumers did not recognize accessing them increased 1.7 times from the previous fiscal year.
  • In FY2014, consultations concerning "adult websites" most increased, which ranked top for the fourth consecutive year since FY2011. Consultations concerning detectives purporting to relieve troubles over adult websites also increased.
  • Consultations related to "internet connection" and "mobile communication service" increased for the second consecutive year. Noticeable cases among them pertain to cancellation due to insufficient explanation when solicited. There was an increase particularly in cases concerning contracts of optical communication line and providers taking a remote-control procedure.
  • The number of inquiries/complaints from people 70 years of age and older slightly decreased from the previous fiscal year because inquiries/complaints related to "deliveries of unplaced health food orders" which surged in FY2013 decreased in FY2014. Nonetheless, inquiries/complaints from people 60 years of age and older still account for about 35% of the total. There were many victims of "theatrical solicitations" soliciting to buy financial goods and rights including unsubstantiated funds.
  • There was an increase in troubles over binary option transactions with unregistered overseas traders.