Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Consumers

Effective Date: 3-15-2014

Source: Government website

Chinese Title: 中华人民共和国消费者权益保护法

Passed by the Fourth Session of the Standing Committee of the Eighth National People’s Congress on 31 October 1993

Revised pursuant to the Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Revision of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Consumers on 25 October 2013

Chapter 1 General Principles

Article 1 This Law is formulated for the purposes of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, safeguarding social and economic order, promoting healthy development of socialist market economy.

Article 2 The rights and interests of consumers who purchase and use goods or receive services for consumption needs shall be protected by this Law; matters not stipulated in this Law shall be protected by other relevant laws and regulations.

Article 3 Business operators providing goods manufactured or sold by them to consumers or providing services shall comply with this Law; for matters not stipulated in this Law, other relevant laws and regulations shall be complied with.

Article 4 Transactions between business operators and consumers shall adhere to the principles of voluntariness, equality, fairness, honesty and trustworthiness.

Article 5 The State protects the legitimate rights and interests of consumers from not being harmed.The State adopts measures to protect consumers’ lawful exercise of rights and safeguard the legitimate consumer rights and interests.

The State advocates civilized, healthy consumption manners which conserve resources and protect the environment and oppose wasteful behaviour.

Article 6 Protection of legitimate consumer rights and interests is the common responsibility of the society. The State encourages and supports all organizations and individuals to exercise public supervision on acts which harm the legitimate consumer rights and interests.

The mass communication media shall carry out proper propaganda for protection of legitimate consumer rights and interests, and conduct public opinion supervision for acts which harm the legitimate consumer rights and interests.

Chapter 2 Consumer Rights

Article 7 Consumers shall be entitled to the protection of their personal safety and property security at the time of purchase and use of goods and receipt of services. Consumers shall have the right to require that the goods and services provided by business operators satisfy the requirements for protection of consumers’ personal safety and property security.

Article 8 Consumers shall be entitled to the knowledge of actual information of the goods they purchase or use and the services they receive. Consumers shall have the right to require business operators to provide, based on different situations of the goods or services, the relevant information pertaining to the price, place of manufacturing, manufacturer, purpose, function, specifications, grade, main ingredients, manufacturing date, shelf life, inspection certificate, user manual, after-sale services of goods or the contents, specifications and fees and charges of services, etc.

Article 9 Consumers shall be entitled to autonomous selection of goods or services. Consumers shall be entitled to autonomous selection of business operators which provide goods or services, types of goods or service methods, and autonomous decision of purchasing or not purchasing any particular type of goods and accepting or not accepting any particular type of services.

Consumers shall, in the exercise of autonomous selection of goods or services, have the right to make comparison, identification and selection.

Article 10 Consumers shall be entitled to fair trading. Consumers shall, at the time of purchase of goods or receipt of services rendered, have the right to fair trading conditions such as quality assurance, reasonable pricing, correct measurement, etc, and shall have the right to refuse compulsory transactions of business operators.

Article 11 Consumers whose personal safety or property is harmed as a result of purchase or use of goods or receipt of services rendered shall be entitled to receive compensation pursuant to the law.

Article 12 Consumers shall have the right to form social organisations pursuant to the law to protect their legitimate rights and interests.

Article 13 Consumers shall be entitled to obtaining knowledge pertaining to consumption and protection of consumer rights and interests. Consumers shall endeavour to master knowledge and user skill for goods or services they require, use goods properly, and enhance self-protection awareness.

Article 14 Consumers shall, at the time of purchase and use of goods and receipt of services rendered, be entitled to respect for dignity and ethnic customs, and protection of personal information pursuant to the law.

Article 15 Consumers shall have the right to supervise goods and services and protection of consumer rights and interests. Consumers shall have the right to report and file a lawsuit against any act of infringement of consumer rights and interests and illegal act or dereliction of duty committed by the State agencies and their officials in relation to protection of consumer rights and interests, and shall have the right to raise criticism and recommendation pertaining to protection of consumer rights and interests.

Chapter 3 Obligations of Business Operators

Article 16 Business operators engaging in provision of goods or services to consumers shall perform obligations pursuant to the provisions of this Law and other related laws and regulations. Where there is an agreement between a business operator and a consumer, obligations shall be performed pursuant to the agreement, provided that the agreement between both parties shall not be contrary to the provisions of laws and regulations.

Business operators engaging in provision of goods or services to consumers shall abide by social morality, operate with integrity, protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers; and shall not set unfair and unreasonable trading conditions and shall not compel transactions.

Article 17 Business operators shall listen to consumer feedback for the goods or services provided by them, and accept supervision by consumers.

Article 18 Business operators shall ensure that their goods or services provided satisfy the requirements for protection of personal safety or property security. Truthful declaration and specific warning shall be provided to consumers for goods and services which may harm personal safety and property security, the method for correct use of goods or receipt of services rendered and the method for damage prevention shall be stated and labelled. Business operators of business premise such as hotels, malls, restaurants, banks, airports, stations, ports, theatres, etc shall perform safety protection obligations towards consumers.

Article 19 Where a business operator has discovered a defect in its goods or services provided which may harm personal safety or property security, it shall forthwith report to the relevant administrative authorities and notify consumers, and adopt measures such as suspension of selling, alert, recall, decontamination, destruction, suspension of manufacturing or services. Where recall measures are adopted, the business operator shall bear the requisite expenses incurred by consumers as a result of recall of goods.

Article 20 Information pertaining to quality, functions, use, shelf life, etc of goods or services provided by business operators to consumers shall be true and complete, business operators shall not make false or misleading advertising. Business operators shall provide true and specific replies to questions raised by consumers pertaining to the quality and use method for the goods or services provided by them.

Business operators engaging in provision of goods or services shall label prices clearly.

Article 21 Business operators shall label their name and logo truthfully. Business operators leasing counters or premises of others shall label their name and logo truthfully.

Article 22 Business operators engaging in provision of goods or services shall issue proof of purchase of goods or services such as invoices to consumers pursuant to the relevant provisions of the State or business practice; when consumers request for proof of purchase of goods or services, business operators must issue.

Article 23 Business operators shall ensure the requisite quality, function, use and shelf life of their goods or services under normal use of goods or receipt of services rendered, except where a consumer is aware of the defect before purchase of the goods or receipt of the services, and the defect does not violate the mandatory provisions of the law. Business operators demonstrating the quality of their goods or services by way of advertisement, product demo, actual samples or any other methods shall ensure that the actual quality of their goods or services provided is consistent with the demonstrated quality.

For business operators providing durable goods such as motor vehicle, computer, television, refrigerator, air-conditioner, washing machine, etc or renovation services, where a consumer discovers a defect within six months from the date of receipt of the goods or services and there is a dispute, the business operator shall bear the burden of proof pertaining to the said defect.

Article 24 Where the goods or services provided by a business operator do not satisfy quality requirements, the consumer may require the business operator to perform replacement or repair obligations, etc in accordance with the agreement on return of goods between the parties concerned or pursuant to the provisions of the State. Where there is no relevant provisions by the State and agreement between the parties concerned, the consumer may return the goods within seven days from the date of receipt of the goods; where the criteria for statutory rescission of contract are satisfied after the seven-day period, the consumer may return the goods timely, where the criteria for statutory rescission of contract are not satisfied, the consumer may require the business operator to perform replacement or repair obligations. Where the return of goods, replacement or repair is carried out pursuant to the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the business operator shall bear the requisite transportation expenses, etc

Article 25 For business operators which sell their goods online or by way of television, telephone or mail order, etc, a consumer shall have the right to return the goods within seven days from the date of receipt of the goods without specifying a reason, except for the following goods:

(1) goods custom-made for the consumer;

(2) fresh and perishable goods;

(3) digital products such as audio-visual products, computer software etc downloaded online or unpacked by the consumer; and

(4) newspapers and periodicals delivered.Except for the goods mentioned in the preceding paragraph, return of goods without reason does not apply for any other goods for which non-return of goods is confirmed by the consumer at the time of purchase in accordance with the nature of the goods.

Goods returned by consumers must be in good condition. Business operators shall refund the price of the goods paid by the consumer within seven days from the date of receipt of the returned goods. The shipping expenses for returned goods shall be borne by the consumer; where there is an agreement between the business operator and the consumer, such agreement shall prevail.

Article 26 For business operators using standard clauses in their business activities, contents such as quantity and quality of goods or services, price or fees, performance period and method, safety precautions and risk warning, after-sale services, civil liability, etc which are significant to the consumer shall be highlighted to consumers in a prominent manner, and explained as requested by consumers. Business operators shall not impose unfair and unreasonable provisions on consumers such as elimination or restriction of consumer rights, mitigation or disclaimer of business operator’s liability, aggravation of consumer liability, etc by way of standard clauses, notice, statement, shop notice, etc, and shall not make use of standard clauses and compel transactions by way of technical means.

Where the contents of standard clauses, notice, statement, shop notice, etc contain contents mentioned in the preceding paragraph, such contents shall be invalid.

Article 27 Business operators shall not insult or defame consumers, shall not conduct body search on consumers or search the belongings of consumers, and shall not infringe upon personal liberty of consumers.

Article 28 Business operators which provide their goods or services online or by way of television, telephone or mail order, etc, and business operators providing financial services such as securities, insurance, banking services, etc shall provide information such as business address, contact details, quantity and quality of goods or services, price or fees, performance period and method, safety precautions and risk warning, after-sale services, civil liability, etc to consumers.

Article 29 Business operators collecting and using personal information of consumers shall adhere to the principles of legitimacy, bona fide and necessity, state expressly the purpose, method and scope of collection and use of information, and shall obtain the consent of consumers. Business operators collecting and using personal information of consumers shall publicize their collection and use rules, and shall not violate the provisions of laws and regulations and the agreement between both parties in the collection and use of information. Business operators and their staff shall keep strict confidentiality of personal information of consumers collected by them, shall not divulge, sell or provide such information to others illegally. Business operators shall adopt technical measures and other requisite measures, ensure information security, and prevent disclosure and loss of personal information of consumers. In the event of disclosure or loss or possible disclosure or loss of information, remedial measures shall be forthwith adopted.

Business operators shall not send commercial information to consumers without their consent or request or when a consumer has explicitly rejected.

Chapter 4 Protection of Legitimate Consumer Rights and Interests by the State

Article 30 The State shall seek the opinions of consumers and consumer associations, etc when formulating laws, regulations and rules and mandatory standards relating to consumer rights and interests.

Article 31 All levels of People’s Governments shall strengthen leadership, organisation, coordination and supervision of protection of legitimate consumer rights and interests by the relevant administrative authorities, and implement duties for protection of legitimate consumer rights and interests. All levels of People’s Governments shall strengthen supervision, prevent occurrence of acts which harm the personal safety and property security of consumers, promptly foil acts which harm the personal safety and property security of consumers.

Article 32 The administration for industry and commerce of all levels of People’s Governments and other relevant administrative authorities shall adopt measures pursuant to the provisions of laws and regulations and within their respective scope of duties to protect the legitimate consumer rights and interests. The relevant administrative authorities shall seek the opinions of consumers and consumer associations, etc on transactions and the quality of goods and services, etc of business operators, and promptly investigate and deal with such matters.

Article 33 The relevant administrative authorities shall, on a regular or ad hoc basis, conduct random sampling inspection of goods and services provided by business operators within their respective scope of duties, and promptly announce the random sampling inspection findings to the public. Where the relevant administrative authorities have discovered and identified defects in the goods or services provided by a business operator which may harm personal safety and property security, the business operator shall be forthwith ordered to adopt measures such as suspension of selling, warning, recall, decontamination, destruction, suspension of manufacturing or services, etc.

Article 34 The relevant State agencies shall, pursuant to the provisions of laws and regulations, punish illegal acts and crimes committed by business operators in the provision of goods and services which harm the legitimate consumer rights and interests.

Article 35 People’s Courts shall adopt measures, provide convenience for filing of lawsuit by consumers. Filing of lawsuit for disputes over the consumer rights and interests which satisfy the conditions for bringing a lawsuit stipulated in the Civil Procedural Law of the People’s Republic of China must be accepted and the lawsuit shall be promptly tried.

Chapter 5 Consumer Organizations

Article 36 Consumer associations and other consumer organisations are social organizations established pursuant to the law to conduct public supervision over goods and services and to protect legitimate consumer rights and interests.

Article 37 Consumer associations shall perform the following community duties:

(1) provide consumption information and advisory services to consumers, enhance consumers’ capacity for protection of their legitimate rights and interests, guide civilised and healthy consumption methods which conserve resources and protect the environment;

(2) participate in formulation of laws, regulations, rules and mandatory standards relating to consumer rights and interests;

(3) participate in supervision and inspection of goods and services by the relevant administrative authorities;

(4) provide feedback and enquiries relating to the issues on the legitimate consumer rights and interests to the relevant authorities and propose recommendations;

(5) accept consumer complaints, carry out investigation and mediation into the complaint matters;

(6) where a complaint matter involves quality issues of goods and services, a qualified examiner may be entrusted to carry out evaluation, the examiner shall notify evaluation opinion;

(7) for acts which harm the legitimate consumer rights and interests, support aggrieved consumers to file a lawsuit or to file a lawsuit pursuant to the law; and

(8) expose and criticise through mass communication media the acts which harm the legitimate consumer rights and interests.

All levels of People’s Governments shall render support such as the requisite budget for performance of duties by consumer associations.

Consumer associations shall perform duties for protection of legitimate consumer rights and interests properly, seek opinions and recommendations of consumers, accept public supervision.

Other consumer organizations established pursuant to the law shall carry out protection of legitimate consumer rights and interests pursuant to the provisions of laws and regulations and their articles of association.

Article 38 Consumer organizations shall not engage in business activities for goods and profit-making services, and shall not recommend goods and services to consumers by way of collecting fees or seeking other profits.

Chapter 6 Dispute Resolution

Article 39 Disputes over consumer rights and interests between consumers and business operators may be resolved through the following approaches:

(1) negotiate settlement with the business operator;

(2) request for mediation by a consumer association or any other mediation organisation established pursuant to the law;

(3) lodge a complaint with the relevant administrative authorities;

(4) request for arbitration by an arbitration body in accordance with the arbitration agreement entered into with the business operator; or

(5) file a lawsuit with a People’s Court.

Article 40 A consumer whose legitimate rights and interests are harmed in the purchase and use of goods may seek compensation from the seller. Upon compensation by the seller, where the liability falls on the manufacturer or any other seller which provides the goods to the seller, the seller shall have the right to recover the compensation from the manufacturer or the other seller. A consumer or any other aggrieved party whose personal safety and property security are harmed by defective goods may seek compensation from the seller, or seek compensation from the manufacturer. Where the liability falls on the manufacturer, upon compensation by the seller, the seller shall have the right to recover the compensation from the manufacturer. Where the liability falls on the seller, upon compensation by the manufacturer, the manufacturer shall have the right to recover the compensation from the seller.

A consumer whose legitimate rights and interests are harmed in receipt of services rendered may seek compensation from the service provider.

Article 41 A consumer whose legitimate rights and interests are harmed in purchase and use of goods or receipt of services rendered may seek compensation from the enterprise which succeeds the rights and obligations of the former enterprise following the division or merger of the former enterprise.

Article 42 For illegal business operators which use other’s business licence in the provision of goods or services and harmed the legitimate consumer rights and interests, consumers may seek compensation from such a business operator or seek compensation from the holder of the business licence.

Article 43 A consumer whose legitimate rights and interests are harmed in the purchase of goods or receipt of services rendered from a trade fair or a leased counter may seek compensation from the seller or the service provider. Upon conclusion of the trade fair or expiry of the lease period of the counter, the consumer may seek compensation from the organiser of the trade fair or the lessor of the counter. Upon compensation by the organiser of the trade fair or the lessor of the counter, the organiser of the trade fair or the lessor of the counter shall have the right to recover the compensation from the seller or the service provider.

Article 44 A consumer whose legitimate rights and interests are harmed in the purchase of goods or receipt of services rendered through an online trading platform may seek compensation from the seller or the service provider. Where the online trading platform provider is unable to provide the true name, address and valid contact method of the seller or the service provider, the consumer may seek compensation from the online trading platform provider; where the online trading platform provider makes an undertaking which is more favourable to the consumer, the undertaking shall be performed. Upon compensation by the online trading platform provider, the online trading platform provider shall have the right to recover the compensation from the seller or the service provider. Where the online trading platform provider is or should be aware that the seller or the service provider is using its platform to harm the legitimate consumer rights and interests but failed to adopt the requisite measures, the online trading platform provider shall be liable jointly and severally with the seller or the service provider pursuant to the law.

Article 45 A consumer whose legitimate rights and interests are harmed as a result of false advertisements or other false advertising methods by a business operator in the provision of goods or services may seek compensation from the business operator. Where the advertising agent or the advertiser has placed false advertisements, the consumer may request that the administrative authorities in charge punish the advertising agent or the advertiser. Where the advertising agent or the advertiser is unable to provide the true name, address and valid contact method of the business operator, the advertising agent or the advertiser shall bear compensation liability. Where the advertising agent or the advertiser has designed, produced or placed false advertisements for goods and services which relate to the life and health of consumers and cause consumers to suffer damages, the advertising agent or the advertiser shall be liable jointly and severally with the business operator which provides such goods or services.

Where a social body or any other organisation or individual promotes goods or services to consumers in false advertisements or other false publicity which relate to the life and health of consumers and cause consumers to suffer damages, the social body or such organisation or individual shall be liable jointly and severally with the business operator which provides such goods or services.

Article 46 Where a consumer has lodged a complaint with the relevant administrative authorities, the administrative authorities shall handle the matter and notify the consumer within seven working days from the date of receipt of the complaint.

Article 47 For acts which harm the legitimate rights and interests of many consumers, the China Consumers’ Association and consumer associations established at various provinces, autonomous regions and centrally-administered municipalities may file a lawsuit with a People’s Court.

Chapter 7 Legal Liability

Article 48 Under any of the following circumstances, the business operator providing goods or services shall bear civil liability pursuant to the provisions of other relevant laws and regulations, unless otherwise stipulated in this Law:

(1) the goods or services are defective;

(2) a requisite function of the goods is lacking but not mentioned at the time of sale;

(3) the goods do not satisfy the commodity standards stated on the goods or packaging thereof;

(4) the goods do not satisfy the quality stated on the manual of the goods or demonstrated by way of actual samples, etc;

(5) the goods which are declared obsolete in the country of origin are manufactured or invalid or deteriorated goods are sold;

(6) the quantity of the goods sold are insufficient;

(7) the contents and fees of the services are in violation of the agreement;

(8) the business operator deliberately delays or refuses without a reason the requests raised by consumers for repair, redo, replacement, return of goods, making up the quantity of goods, refund of purchase price and service fees or compensation of losses; or

(9) any other circumstances stipulated by laws and regulations to be harmful to consumer rights and interests.A business operator which failed to perform safety protection obligations towards consumers and caused harm to consumers shall bear tort liability.

Article 49 A business operator providing goods or services which cause consumers or other aggrieved parties to suffer personal injury shall make compensation for reasonable expenses incurred for treatment and rehabilitation such as medical fees, nursing fees, transportation fees, etc, and decreased income due to loss of working time. In the event of disability, the business operator shall also make compensation for disability assisted living facilities and disability compensation. In the event of death, the business operator shall also make compensation for funeral expenses and death compensation.

Article 50 A business operator which infringes upon consumers’ dignity, personal liberty or lawfully protected personal information of consumers shall stop infringement, reinstate reputation, eliminate impact, apologise and compensate losses.

Article 51 Where a business operator harms the personal rights and interests of consumers or other aggrieved parties through defamation, body search or infringement of personal liberty, etc and causes the aggrieved persons to suffer severe mental anguish, the aggrieved persons may seek compensation for mental anguish.

Article 52 A business operator providing goods or services which cause consumers to suffer property damages shall bear civil liability such as repair, redo, replacement, return of goods, making up the quantity of goods, refund of purchase price and service fees or compensation of losses, etc pursuant to the provisions of the law or the agreement between the parties concerned.

Article 53 Business operators providing goods or services by way of advance payment shall provide goods or services pursuant to the agreement. Where the goods or services are not provided pursuant to the agreement, the business operator shall perform the agreement as required by the consumer or refund the advance payment and bear the interest on advance payment and reasonable expenses incurred by the consumer.

Article 54 Where a consumer requests for return of goods which are identified by the relevant administrative authorities pursuant to the law to be substandard goods, the business operator shall be responsible for return of goods.

Article 55 Business operators providing goods or services which commit fraud shall increase compensation for losses incurred in accordance with the request of the consumer, the increased compensation amount shall be three times the amount of the price of the goods purchased by the consumer or the fee of service received by the consumer; where the increased compensation amount is less than RMB500, the increased compensation amount shall be RMB500. Where the laws provide otherwise, such provisions shall prevail. Where a business operator provides goods or services to consumers when it is aware that the goods or services are defective and cause death or severe health damages of consumers or other aggrieved persons, the aggrieved persons shall have the right to require the business operator to compensate losses pursuant to the provisions of Article 49 and Article 51 of this Law, etc, and shall have the right to demand punitive damages of not more than two times the amount of losses.

Article 56 Under any of the following circumstances, the business operator shall, in addition to bearing the corresponding civil liability, implement the provisions of other relevant laws and regulations on agencies imposing punishment and punishment methods; where the laws and regulations do not stipulate, the business operator shall be ordered by the administration for industry and commerce or other relevant administrative authorities to make correction, and may be subject to warning and/or confiscation of illegal income, a fine ranging from one to 10 times the amount of illegal income based on the circumstances, where there is no illegal income, a fine of not more than RMB500,000 shall be imposed; in serious cases, the business operator shall be ordered to suspend business operation for correction and its business licence shall be revoked:

(1) the goods or services provided do not satisfy the requirements for protection of personal safety and property security;

(2) the goods are adulterated and contain impurities and are shoddy goods, or quality goods are substituted by substandard goods;

(3) the goods which are declared obsolete in the country of origin are manufactured or invalid or deteriorated goods are sold;

(4) forgery of place of origin of goods, forgery or fraudulent use of other’s factory name or address, alteration of manufacturing date, forgery or fraudulent use of quality marks such as certification marks;

(5) the goods sold are not inspected or quarantined as required or the inspection and quarantine results are forged;

(6) there are false or misleading advertisements of goods or services;

(7) refuse or postpone measures ordered on the defective goods or services by the relevant administrative authorities such as suspension of selling, warning, recall, decontamination, destruction, suspension of manufacturing or services, etc;

(8) deliberately delay or refuse without a reason the requests raised by consumers for repair, redo, replacement, return of goods, making up the quantity of goods, refund of purchase price and service fees or compensation for losses;

(9) infringement upon dignity, personal liberty or lawfully protected personal information of consumers;

(10) any other circumstances stipulated by the laws and regulations for which infringement of consumer rights and interests is punishable.A business operator which commits any of the following acts stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall, in addition to being punished pursuant to the provisions of laws and regulations, be blacklisted in the creditworthiness files by the agencies imposing punishment and announced to the public.

Article 57 For business operators which violate the provisions of this Law in the provision of goods or services and infringe upon the legitimate consumer rights and interests, where the act constitutes a criminal offense, criminal liability shall be pursued in accordance with the law.

Article 58 Business operators which violate the provisions of this Law shall bear civil compensation liability and pay fines and penalties, where their properties are inadequate to make concurrent payment, civil compensation liability shall rank in priority.

Article 59 A business operator which disagrees with an administrative punishment decision may apply for administrative review or file an administrative lawsuit pursuant to the law.

Article 60 Persons who hinder legitimate execution of duties by personnel of the relevant administrative authorities with violence or threats shall be prosecuted for criminal liability pursuant to the law; persons who hinder legitimate execution of duties by personnel of the relevant administrative authorities without using violence or threats shall be punished by the public security agency pursuant to the provisions of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Security Administration and Punishment.

Article 61 State agency personnel guilty of dereliction of duty or harbouring infringement of legitimate consumer rights and interests by business operators shall be subject to administrative punishment by their employer or the higher-level authorities; in serious cases, where the act constitutes a criminal offence, criminal liability shall be pursued in accordance with the law.

Chapter 8 Supplementary Provisions

Article 62 Farmers’ purchase and use of manufacturing materials used directly in agricultural production shall make reference to this Law.

Article 63 This Law shall be effective 1 January 1994.

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