FY2016 Summary of "Consumer Trouble Mail Box"
NCAC has a data collecting section on its website titled "Consumer Trouble Mail Box" (hereinafter called "Trouble Mail Box") set up in April 2002 in order to promptly perceive the actual status of consumer damage and to prevent the occurrence of similar problems. The following show the outline of information received through the Trouble Mail Box in FY2016 and noticeable cases for which the follow-up survey was conducted.
Transition in the number of reports by fiscal year
The number of reports received in FY2016 was 9,387, representing an increase from 9,122 in FY2015. The average number of reports per day was about 26.
Traffic to "Trouble Mail Box"
The traffic to the top page of "Trouble Mail Box" amounted to 136,348, which showed about a 20% decrease over the previous fiscal year.
Nature of senders
Males accounted for more than 60% (males: 63.5%, females: 36.5%). The percentage of females slightly decreased in FY2016, same as the previous fiscal year.
Senders in their 30s (25.3%) and 40s (34.7%) accounted for about 60%. The percentage of those in their 40s increased, while the percentage of those under 40, and those in their 50s and 70s slightly decreased. In comparison with contract signatories related to inquiries/complaints sent to local consumer centers, etc. across Japan (data gathered by PIO-NET), senders in their 30s and 40s are nearly double in number while senders in their 60s and older are about one quarter. The tendency was similar to that of the previous fiscal year.
In comparison with contract signatories related to inquiries/complaints sent to local consumer centers, etc. across Japan (data gathered by PIO-NET), the percentage of "unemployed" and "homemakers", including the elderly, was lower, while the percentage of "salary earners" and "independent business, freelance" was higher.
According to the three hour breakdown of posting time, the number of those who posted during 9:00-17:59 weekdays, i.e. business hours and the number of those who posted other time were almost equal. There was just a slight difference in number of posting in every three hours during 9:00-23:59. About 10% of the senders posted between midnight and early morning (0:00-5:59). The data show a certain need for 24-hour possibility of sending information.
Tendency of information received in FY2016
Due to the nature of online data collection system, "Trouble Mail Box" generally tends to receive much information concerning ICT or internet shopping in usual years. Information received in FY2016 was further characterized by troubles over electricity retail liberalization as in the previous fiscal year and troubles over gas retail liberalization, which started in April 2017. In late March 2017, Trouble Mail Box frequently received information on bankruptcy of a travel company.
Noticeable cases in FY2016 for which follow-up survey was conducted
"Trouble Mail Box" also received information on troubles which could lead to spread of consumer damage as well as information related to new products and new types of tricks. Concerning such information, NCAC conducts follow-up survey of information providers and related businesses (See press releases in the section of News).
Information provision to the Consumer Affairs Agency
"Trouble Mail Box" received information on harmful incidents when using products/services as well as physical risks felt by consumers when using products/services. Serious accidents under Article 12 of the Consumer Safety Act (incidents of death or serious injuries/diseases which required medical treatment of 30 days or more), and incidents which could cause serious accidents (so called "close call incidents") are immediately notified to the Consumer Affairs Agency. In FY2016, NCAC notified the Consumer Affairs Agency of 8 serious accidents and 62 close call incidents.