One year since the launch of Consumer Hotline for Tourists: 65% of inquiries from Chinese speakers
NCAC launched the Consumer Hotline for Tourists in December 2018 to offer telephone consultation that overseas visitors to Japan can use if they experience consumer detriment while visiting Japan. The Consumer Hotline for Tourists is accessible in six different languages (i.e. English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese) with use of interpretation service through a three-way call system.
One year has passed since the launch of the Consumer Hotline for Tourists. NCAC would like to introduce what kinds of inquiries have been received so that it may be helpful to those who are going to visit Japan.
Summary of inquiries
Number of inquiries
Inquiries received after the launch on December 3, 2018 amounted to 283 as of November 30, 2019.
Attributes of inquirers
While the Consumer Hotline for Tourists basically serves inbound tourists to Japan, it sometimes receives inquiries from foreign nationals living in Japan or those outside of Japan. The above 283 inquiries consist of 195 inquiries (69%) from inbound tourists to Japan, 74 inquiries (26%) from foreign nationals living in Japan, and 14 inquiries (5%) from foreign nationals outside of Japan.
Inquiries from inbound tourists to Japan
Breakdown by timing of inquiry
When breaking down the 195 inquiries from inbound tourists to Japan by timing of inquiry, 7 inquiries (4%) were received before visiting Japan; 118 inquiries (60%) were received while staying in Japan; and 70 inquiries (36%) were received after leaving Japan.
Breakdown by language
According to the breakdown of the 194 inquiries by language, 126 inquiries (65%) were in Chinese, 42 inquiries (21%) were in English, 13 inquiries (7%) were in Japanese, 10 inquiries (5%) were in Korean, and 4 inquiries (2%) were in Thai.
Breakdown by product and service
According to the breakdown of the 194 inquiries by product and service, the most common category was "accommodation" including hotel, Japanese inn (ryokan) and private lodging, which amounted to 49 inquiries. The second most common was "dining out and catering", which amounted to 24 inquiries and indicated problems about menus and charges. Other categories were "health foods", "cosmetics", "bags", "watches", etc. which pertain to problems about quality, product return, refund, etc.
Sampling of common inquiries
- I found a hostel with good reviews and booked the hostel. Actually, the room was too dirty to stay.
- When we arrived at a private lodging house, the owner was out and there was no way to enter the house. We had to sleep outside.
- At a restaurant, I was charged for an expensive cover charge, which was totally unexpected.
- At a Japanese-style bar (izakaya), we ordered 4 portions of hot pot dish, but we were charged for 8 portions.
- After drinking alcohol at a bar in downtown, I was charged a hefty fee.
- I wanted to return a luxury watch to a shop because I found the same product sold at a lower price in another shop, but the seller didn't accept product return.
- At a duty-free shop which I was taken to during a packaged tour, a tour guide gave me false information.
- A brand cosmetic product I bought seems to be fake. I want to return the product, but the seller doesn't accept product return.
- Although I bought rental car insurance, I was told that car damage was not covered by the insurance.
- I received acne scar treatment at a beauty clinic. Even one month thereafter, the scar remains.
To those planning to visit Japan
Advice on accommodation
- Carefully read description on the booking site. Also check the official site and reviews from users.
Advice on dining out
- If there's any unclear point at an eating place, confirm it with staff.
- Don't follow any tout or puller-in.
Advice on shopping
- Remember that product return is not accepted just for your own reasons.
- If you want to buy something, it is helpful to check prices of the product beforehand.
Advice on means of mobility
- When using a rental car, carefully read a contract beforehand. If there's any unclear point, ask the rental car company about it.
Consumer Hotline for Tourists
If you experience consumer detriment while visiting Japan, call the Consumer Hotline for Tourists.
If you see any inbound visitor facing consumer detriment, tell the person to call the Consumer Hotline for Tourists.
- Accessible hours:
- 10:00 to 16:00 on weekdays (closed weekends, national holidays, and Dec. 29 - Jan. 3)
- Available languages:
- English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese