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[August 2022]

FY2021 Summary of Consumer Affairs Inquiries received through PIO-NET

This summary reflects consumer affairs inquiries collected by PIO-NET* in fiscal 2021. Based on the data registered with PIO-NET, NCAC has analyzed trends of consumer affairs inquiries in fiscal 2021.

Details of the information will be described in the "Annual Report on Consumer Affairs 2022", which will be released on NCAC's website in October 2022.

  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.
  2. Note: The Japanese fiscal year starts in April and concludes in March of the following year.

Trends and characteristics of FY2021 consumer affairs inquiries

  • The total number of inquiries in fiscal 2021 was 843,664 - decreased by nearly 100,000 from 942,463 in fiscal 2020, due to a decrease in inquiries about "billing fraud" and those related to COVID-19.
  • The number of inquiries related to "billing fraud" was 109,000 in fiscal 2019, but the number considerably decreased to 28,000 in fiscal 2020 and 18,000 in fiscal 2021.
  • Compared to fiscal 2020, an increase in the following categories was noticeable: "cosmetics" (e.g. unexpected subscription induced by an online ad), "seafood in general" (e.g. wishing to exercise the cooling-off right after making a contract in telemarketing sales and receiving a product cash on delivery), "bags" and "jewelry"(e.g. a fake product delivered cash on delivery after ordering through a discount sales ad on social media), "other insurance/welfare service" (e.g. phone call which could be a refund fraud), "foreign exchange margin trading" (e.g. investment solicitation by someone met on a matching app).
  • The breakdown of inquiries by age group of contract signatories shows that the percentage of contract signatories aged 70 or older was 22.9% in fiscal 2021, still representing the highest proportion. The percentage of contract signatories in their 20s and that of those aged 70 or older modestly increased.
  • The breakdown of inquiries by sales/purchase method shows that "mail order sales including online sales", which accounted for 38.5% in fiscal 2021, continued to be the top category since fiscal 2013. There were numerous inquiries about "online sales" and "subscription".
  • The total and average of purchased amount and paid-in amount increased since fiscal 2020. The total of purchased amount in fiscal 2021 was 348,300,000,000 yen (average: 790,000 yen). The total of paid-in amount in fiscal 2021 was 127,100,000,000 yen (average: 350,000 yen).
  • The breakdown of inquiries by sales tactic shows an increase in inquiries in the following categories: "cash on delivery" related to bags, clothes, seafood, etc., "phishing" related to thief of credit card information, "sales under the guise of inspection" and "sales capitalizing on insurance" leading numerous elderly consumers aged 70 or older to make an expensive contract for roof repair, etc., and "door-to-door purchase" on which numerous elderly consumers aged 70 or older consulted about jewelry.