Macau, Portugal prepare consumer rights agreement

The Macau Consumer Council (CC) is expecting to sign an agreement with the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection (DECO) to handle consumer disputes concerning Portuguese citizens and some mainland Chinese citizens, as announced by Wong Hon Neng, president of the executive committee of the CC.

Consumer organizations representing nine cities in the Greater Bay Area and the two special administrative regions were part of the conference held in Macau last week. The conference involved discussion and planning of projects regarding consumer rights protection, as well as the signing of the “Memorandum of Co-operation for Consumer Protection in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area”.

On the sidelines of the conference, Wong said that “hopefully, [an agreement between Macau and Portugal] can be signed in the second or third quarters. Earlier, we reached an agreement with Portugal [on the topic].”

When questioned by the Times, Wong revealed that “when Portuguese residents are confronted with consumption disputes in mainland China or Macau, the Consumer Council will forward the case to the related [mainland] consumers organizations, and vice-versa. In the past, this kind of dispute would have to even sometimes go through a few diplomatic channels.” 

In addition, Wong said that “as the platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries, we [Macau] are happy and willing to do it [transfer cases between mainland China and Macau]. Hopefully, we will be able to better protect consumer rights on both sides [the Greater Bay Area and Portugal].”

According to Wong, “it will be more convenient” for residents from the Greater Bay Area or residents from Portugal to solve consumption disputes through Macau. One of the reasons is that Macau can provide translation between the Portuguese and Chinese languages.

Currently, the agreement between Macau and Portugal has already been drafted; it will have to be approved before eventually being printed.

Wong also informed that in recent years, approximately 20 percent of all consumption complaints were filed by residents from the Greater Bay Area.

“Regarding the past several years, the closing rate concerning consumer complaints exceeded 96 percent,” said Wong.

“Last year, [the majority of] the complaints were related to common consumer goods. There have been [were] less complaints about dishonest shops. On the other hand, there is [was] a rather serious source of complaints: taxis,” Wong noted.

Based on the memorandum, Wong explained that a resident from the Greater Bay Area can either choose to send a complaint to the Consumer Council or can directly take it to his/her local city’s consumer organization, which will pass it to the CC.  The  council will then decide the steps to be taken to the related city’s consumer organizations.

The Consumer Council claims that the memorandum not only enhances the information exchange among the 11 cities in the Greater Bay Area, but also sets the Council as the main platform for referring cases between cities within the region and Portuguese consumer organizations.

Categories Macau