Summary of consumer affairs inquiries related to COVID-19 (data through August 2020)
NCAC has collected data on consumer affairs inquiries related to the novel coronavirus received by local consumer affairs centers and the like across Japan with use of PIO-NET1. NCAC released "Summary of consumer affairs inquires related to COVID-19 (data from January to April 2020)" in May 2020. This time, NCAC has outlined trends and examples of the inquiries received through August 2020.
- 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. This article is based on data received from January to August 2020 (data registered through August 31, 2020), excluding inquiries referred from local consumer affairs centers to NCAC.
Trends and characteristics of consumer affairs inquiries related to COVID-19 (data through August 2020)
- Local consumer affairs centers and the like across Japan received 64,938 consumer affairs inquiries related to COVID-19 form January to August 2020 (data registered through August 31, 2020). The number of inquiries increased from February and the monthly number in April was 21,072. Since May, the number is on the decrease.
- There have been numerous inquiries and complaints about face masks every month: inquiries and complaints about shortage or high prices, those about negative option (e.g. "Face masks were delivered to me although I didn't order them") and those about online shopping (e.g. "My order has not been delivered yet," "Defective face masks were delivered").
- Concerning travel, accommodation, yoga classes, wedding centers and others, there have been numerous inquiries about cancellation or cancellation fees (e.g. "When I requested cancellation in order to avoid COVID-19 infection, I was charged a cancellation fee as set out").
- There have been inquiries about fraudulent businesses capitalizing on COVID-19 or subsidy (e.g. scheming to get personal information such as cash card numbers and bank account numbers, inducing consumers to apply for a COVID-19 subsidy although they are not entitled to do so).
Sampling of inquiries and complaints
- I placed an order for face masks on an online shopping site. Later I received defective face masks.
- I canceled a flight. My payment has not been refunded.
- I want to get refund for monthly fees for the period closed.
- When I canceled a wedding contract, I was charged a cancellation fee.
- I was charged rent for apartment, although I haven't moved in there yet.
- One of my colleagues said, "You can get money." The plan was a fraudulent application for a COVID-19 subsidy.
Advice for consumers
- Carefully read terms and conditions to confirm cancellation terms including a cancellation fee.
- Beware of troubles over online shopping.
- If a product was delivered without ordering, do not receive it or pay for it.
- Beware of fraudulent businesses capitalizing on COVID-19.
- If you are not entitled to apply for a COVID-19 subsidy, do not apply for it even if you are induced to do so.
- In case of trouble or concern, or when you feel suspicious of something, consult your local consumer affairs center right away.