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[July 2019]

FY2018 Summary of "Consumer Trouble Mailbox" - Your information helped improve food labeling for allergens!

NCAC has a data collecting section on its website titled "Consumer Trouble Mailbox" (hereinafter called "Trouble Mailbox") set up in April 2002 in order to collect up-to-date information on consumer detriment and to prevent the occurrence of similar problems in Japan. The following show the outline of information received through Trouble Mailbox in FY2018 and noticeable cases for which the follow-up survey was conducted.

Tendency of information

Main subjects received by Trouble Mailbox in FY2018:

  • Trouble over billing fraud or unjust billing
  • Trouble over online shopping
  • Trouble over online games
  • Trouble over interpersonal transactions (e.g. transactions through flea market application, auction site, ticket resale site, etc.)
  • Trouble over communication service contracts (e.g. optical fiber communication contracts)
  • Trouble over information for sale
  • Others (e.g. hotel cancellation fee, phishing mail from a sender claiming to be with a major delivery company, delivery of goods which were not ordered, etc.)

Cases for which follow-up survey was conducted

  • Home delivery laundry did not clearly show that free shipping was not applied to some areas.
  • Online shopping site sold products, the design and color of which are different from those on the photo.
  • Credit card company did not indicate on the site how to cancel magazine subscription.
  • Training equipment company posted a promotional photo online which gave false impressions.
  • Online sales company cancelled a contract without customer's approval because of showing wrong prices by mistake.
  • Card company sent a notice to a wrong person that winning points would be added.
  • Bakery failed to indicate an allergen on a price card.
  • Supermarket failed to indicate an allergen on the top surface of a packed lunch.

Notification to the Consumer Affairs Agency

Under the Consumer Safety Act, serious accidents (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 FY2018, NCAC notified the Consumer Affairs Agency of 8 serious accidents and 86 close call incidents.


Transition in the number of reports by fiscal year

The number of reports received in FY2018 was 9,886 representing a decrease from 10,245 in FY2017. The average number of reports per day was around 27.

Traffic to "Trouble Mailbox"

The traffic to the top page of "Trouble Mailbox" amounted to 120,690 showing about a 7% decrease over the previous fiscal year. On the other hand, the traffic to the top page of "Q&A on frequent consumer problems (FAQ)" amounted to 226,459 which is more than double from the previous fiscal year.

Number of items listed in FAQ

As of the end of March 2019, 262 items were listed in the FAQ section.

Attributes of senders


Males accounted for over 60% (males: 61.9%, females: 38.1%). The percentage of females slightly decreased from FY2017.


Senders in their 30s (25.2%) and 40s (29.2%) accounted for slightly over 50%. The percentage of those aged 50 or more increased from FY2017.


The percentage of "salary earners", "independent business or freelance" and "out of work" increased, and that of "homemakers" decreased from FY2017.

Access time

According to the three hour breakdown of posting time, there was just a slight difference in number of posting in every three hours during 9:00 - 23:59. About 9% 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.