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[August 2019]

FY2018 Summary of Consumer Affairs Inquiries received through PIO-NET

This summary reflects consumer affairs inquiries collected by PIO-NET* in FY2018. Based on the data registered with PIO-NET through the end of May 2019, NCAC has analyzed trends of consumer affairs inquiries in FY2018.

Details of the information will be described on the "Annual Report on Consumer Affairs 2019", which will be released on NCAC's website in October 2019.

  1. * PIO-NET is a database that collects information on inquiries concerning consumer affairs by linking NCAC with local consumer affairs centers and similar organizations across Japan via an online network. Since FY2008, PIO-NET does not include inquiries referred from local consumer affairs centers to NCAC.

Trends and characteristics of FY2018 consumer affairs inquiries identified through PIO-NET

  • The total number of inquiries in FY2018 was 991,575 which showed an increase from 941,341 in FY2017. This result was affected by an increase in inquiries related to "billing fraud".
  • The number of inquiries related to "billing fraud" has been on the increase since FY2012. The number of those inquiries increased to 2,260,000 in FY2018, affected by an increase of inquiries about billing fraud postcards from fraudsters personating a public organization such as the Ministry of Justice. Inquiries about "billing fraud" were mostly from women aged 50 or more.
  • The breakdown of inquiries by age group of contract signatories showed that the percentage of contract signatories aged 70 or older was 24.7% in FY2018, the highest in a decade. The percentage of contract signatories in their 60s and those aged 70 or older has been on the increase in recent years. The percentage of contract signatories under 20, in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s decreased.
  • Compared to FY2017, an increase in the following categories was highlighted: "electricity" affected by troubles when switching electricity contractors after being solicited via telephone or in person at home; "cosmetics" and "health foods" affected by consumers who bought these products at lower prices and later found that they concluded a regular purchase contract; and "fund-type investment products" affected by troubles after being solicited "You can make a profit by investing in cryptocurrency (crypto assets)".
  • The breakdown of inquiries by sales/purchase method showed that "mail order sales", which accounted for 29.9% in FY2018, continued to be the top category since FY2013. There were numerous inquiries about "online stores".
  • Inquiries about "door-to-door sales", "telemarketing", "negative option" and "door-to-door purchase" were mostly from consumers aged 70 or older. Inquiries about "multilevel marketing" were mostly from consumers in their 20s.
  • The total and the average of purchased amount and paid-in amount decreased since FY2017. The total of purchased amount in FY2018 was 428,100,000,000 yen (average: 1,100,000 yen). The total of paid-in amount in FY2018 was 149,200,000,000 yen (average: 420,000 yen).
  • The breakdown of inquiries by sales tactic highlighted inquiries about money making offers: inquiries about "side business schemes" and "investment schemes" which has been on the increase and those about "multilevel marketing".