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[December 2020]

Ten major topics for 2020 related to consumer affairs

Every year, NCAC publishes "ten major topics related to consumer affairs" of the year chosen out of the cases that drew significant public attention and/or resulted in a large number of consumer inquiries.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes in society and lifestyle. Regarding consumer affairs, the year 2020 has been marked by unscrupulous businesses capitalizing on COVID-19 and troubles over online transactions such as online shopping and regular purchase.

Ten major topics for 2020 related to consumer affairs

  • COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected consumers' lives.
  • The use of mobile payment has increased. On the other hand, the misuse of mobile payment has been reported one after another.
  • Review Committee of the Consumer Affairs Agency has stated that deposit transaction agreements of specified commodities should be prohibited in principle if the commodities are sold to consumers concerned.
  • Environmental improvement of digital platforms for consumer transactions has been considered by the Consumer Affairs Agency.
  • Accidents related to everyday items have been experienced by all the age groups.
  • More and more children and the elderly have got in trouble online.
  • Record high problems related to regular purchase contracts, under which a discount for the first trial is offered on condition that consumers continue to buy a certain product for a while.
  • Revised Civil Code came into force, which is closely related to consumers' lives.
  • Judgment was made for the first time concerning civil court proceedings for the collective redress for property damage incurred by consumers. A specified qualified consumer organization initiated the proceedings and won the case.
  • 50th anniversary of the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan.