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TRANA804BF

TRAN & THE USE OF CHIN IN LAW


(2017)
LECTURE ELEVEN
(Handout 1)

LEGAL NEWS

TRADE DESCRIPTION

Trade Descriptions (Unfair Trade Practices) (Amendment) Ordinance:


Changing the Consumer Protection Landscape?

商品說明(不良營商手法)(修訂)條例:改變消費者權益保障的情況?

Unlike other jurisdictions such as the UK and Australia, Hong Kong lacks a
comprehensive consumer protection law. Consumer interests are afforded some
protection under various pieces of legislation in a piecemeal and uncoordinated
manner. For example, false descriptions of goods are dealt with under the Trade
Descriptions Ordinance (Cap. 362) (“TDO”), misrepresentation is dealt with under
the Misrepresentation Ordinance (Cap. 284), consumer contract related matters are
dealt with under the Sale of Goods Ordinance (Cap. 26), Supply of Services
(Implied Terms) Ordinance (Cap. 457), Control of Exemption Clauses Ordinance
(Cap. 71) and Unconscionable Contracts Ordinance (Cap. 458). The deficiencies
of this legislative framework are exacerbated by the developments in the consumer
market in recent years, such as the use of dubious or exaggerated claims in
advertisements and high pressure tactics to induce consumers to enter into a
transaction for goods and services.

與其他司法管轄區如英國和澳洲不同,香港缺乏一條全面的消費者保護條例 。
消費者權益在不同的條例下得到若干的保障,但此等條例零碎而不協調。例
如,虛假商品描述是根據《商品說明條例》(第 362 章)處理,失實陳述是根據
《失實陳述條例》(第 284 章)處理,而與消費者合約有關的事宜則根據《貨品
售賣條例》(第 26 章)、《服務提供(隱含條款)條例》(第 457 章)、
《管制免責條款
條例》(第 71 章)及《不合情理合約條例》(第 458 章)處理。近年消費者市場的發
展,如商戶在廣告中使用可疑或誇大的聲稱、或使用高壓手法誘導消費者進
行貨品和服務交易等現象,使這立法框架更顯不足。

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In response to such developments and also the call for enhanced consumer
protection in the community, the Government introduced the Trade Descriptions
(Unfair Trade Practices) (Amendment) Bill (“Bill”) into the Legislative Council to
amend the TDO in February this year. The Bill was passed and the Trade
Descriptions (Unfair Trade Practices) (Amendment) Ordinance (“Amendment
Ordinance”) was enacted on 17 July 2012. The effective date of the Amendment
Ordinance is yet to be announced but it is expected to commence operation
sometime this year.

就此消費者市場的發展及社會上要求加強消費者保障的聲音作出回應,政府
於今年二月向立法會提交《商品說明(不良營商手法)(修訂)條例草案》(「草
案」)。《商品說明(不良營商手法)(修訂)條例》(「修訂條例」)在草案被通過後
於二零一二年七月十二日頒佈。修訂條例的生效日期有待公告,但預計將於
今年內生效。

Expansion of the scope of the TDO


擴大《商品說明條例》的適用範圍

The TDO currently prohibits any person from applying a false or materially
misleading indication of any of the specified aspects of any goods in the course of
trade or business. It does not apply to services. The definition of “trade
description” is also quite limited - it deals with matters such as quantity,
composition and physical characteristics of the goods, but not important and
relevant indications such as price. The Amendment Ordinance extends the
application of the TDO to apply to services (other than services provided under an
employment contract) and expands the definition of “trade description” to false
indications of any matters in relation to goods and services such as price and
availability. In addition, a number of new offences dealing with unfair trade
practices have been introduced. These are further described in the “Unfair Trade
Practices” section below.

《商品說明條例》目前禁止任何人在營商或業務運作中,就任何貨品的任何指
明範疇,作出虛假或嚴重誤導的顯示。《商品說明條例》並不適用於服務。在
《商品說明條例》項目下,「商品說明」的定義亦過於狹窄-它只限於商品的
數量、成份及物理特性,但不包括如價格等重要及相關的資料。修訂條例擴大
《商品說明條例》的適用範圍至服務(僱傭合約下提供的服務除外),及擴大
「商品說明」的定義至涵蓋任何與貨品及服務有關的虛假顯示,如價格及商戶
是否有該等貨品或服務可供應等。此外,修訂條例亦將某幾項不良營商手法
增訂為罪行,於本文的「不良營商手法」部份將有所詳述。

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The provisions of the Amendment Ordinance will not apply to certain regulated
sectors and professional practices. Persons in professions such as law, medicine,
accounting and architecture will not be subject to the new regime and regulated
products such as insurance and financial services are also excluded since
regulatory regimes for these professions and products are already in place.

修訂條例的條文並不適用於某些受規管的界別及專業。專業人士如律師、醫生、
會計師及建築師將不會受到新機制所約束,而受規管的產品如保險及金融服
務等,亦因已受現有的行業特定機制所監管而獲得豁免。

Section 7M of the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106) has also been


repealed given that the new regime under the Amendment Ordinance confers
enforcement powers on the Telecommunications Authority (“TA”) in relation to
commercial practices of telecommunications and broadcasting licensees.

由於修訂條例賦予香港電訊管理局(「電管局」)就電訊和廣播業持牌人的商
業行為執法的權力,《電訊條例》(第 106 章)第 7M 因而被廢除。

Unfair Trade Practices


不良營商手法

At present, unfair trade practices are dealt with by various common law and
statutory offences, for example, deception and fraud offences are dealt with under
the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210), as well as under industry-specific regulatory
regimes such as the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571). Consumers may
also resort to private actions to seek remedies for wrongdoing of traders under
contract law, tort law or the law of misrepresentation. However, as the relevant
mens rea is required for criminal offences and consumers are often reluctant or
unable to take private action due to the cost of litigation, remedial action is
limited.

目前,不良營商手法是根據不同的普通法及法定罪行處理,例如欺騙及欺詐
罪行是根據《盜竊罪條例》(第 210 章)及行業特定的規管機制(如《證券及期
貨條例》(第 571 章))處理。消費者亦可就商戶的不當行為,根據合約法、侵
權法或失實陳述法例等提出私人訴訟,索取賠償。可是,由於刑事罪行在定
罪時需證明相關的犯罪意圖,而消費者亦往往因訴訟費用的關係卻步,甚至
無法提出私人訴訟,以致有關不良營商手法的補救行動甚為有限。

The Amendment Ordinance creates offences for five types of unfair trade
practices. Any trader found guilty of engaging in the unfair trade practices will be
subject to a penalty of up to HK$500,000 and imprisonment for five years (on

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conviction on indictment) or a penalty of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for two
years (on summary conviction). The new offences are:

修訂條例把五種不良營商手法增訂為罪行。任何商戶如被定罪,最高可判處
罰款 50 萬元及監禁 5 年(若經循公訴程序定罪),或罰款 10 萬元及監禁 2
年(若經循簡易程序定罪)。新增訂的罪行如下:
 Misleading omissions: a commercial practice that omits or hides material
information, or provides material information in an unclear or ambiguous
manner, and results in the consumer making a decision that he or she would
not have made otherwise.
 誤導性遺漏:指一種遺漏或隱瞞重要資料、或以不明確或含糊的方式提
供重要資料的營業行為,而該營業行為導致消費者作出某項交易決定
(如消費者沒有接觸該營業行為則不會作出該項交易決定)。
 Aggressive commercial practices: a commercial practice that significantly
impairs, or is likely to significantly impair, the consumer’s freedom of choice
through the use of harassment, coercion or undue influence and results in the
consumer making a decision that he or she would not have made otherwise.
 具威嚇性的營業行為:指一種通過騷擾、威迫手段或施加不當影響,在
相當程度上損害或相當可能在相當程度上損害消費者在選擇方面的自由
的營業行為,而該營業行為導致消費者作出某項交易決定(如消費者沒
有接觸該營業行為則不會作出該項交易決定)。
 Bait advertising: advertising of goods or services at a specified price where
the trader does not have reason to believe that it will be able to, or does not in
fact, offer the goods or services at the advertised price, for a reasonable period
and in reasonable quantities. An example of this practice would be advertising
products at bargain prices but making them available only for an unreasonably
short period of time or in unreasonably small quantities.
 餌誘式廣告宣傳:凡商戶作出廣告宣傳,聲稱可按某指明價格供應某產
品,而沒有合理理由相信該商戶將能在合理期間內,要約按該價格供應
合理數量的該產品,或該商戶沒有在合理期間內,要約按該價格供應合
理數量的該產品,則該廣告宣傳即構成餌誘式廣告宣傳。這種不良營商
手法的其中一個例子,是以廣告宣傳特價產品,但有關商戶只於不合理
地短的時間內供應、或只供應不合理地少的特價產品。
 Bait and switch: a commercial practice where one type of goods or services is
offered at a particular price but the trader’s intention is to promote different
goods or services using various tactics including refusing to show the
advertised item, refusing to take orders or deliver the item within a reasonable
time, or demonstrating a defective sample of the product.
 先誘後轉銷售行為:如任何商戶就某貨品或服務(「有關產品」)作出按
指明價格的購買邀請,而其後意圖促銷不同產品,並拒絕展示有關產品,
或拒絕接受有關產品的訂單,或在合理時間內交付有關產品,或展示或
示範使用有關產品的欠妥樣本,該營業行為即屬先誘後轉銷售行為。

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 Wrongly accepting payment: a commercial practice where, at the time of
acceptance of payment for the goods or services, the trader either (a) does not
intend to supply the goods or services, (b) intends to supply materially
different goods or services, or (c) does not have reason to believe that it will
be able to supply the goods or services within a reasonable time. A typical
example would be a trader on the verge of business closure inducing
consumers to enter into a contract for prepaid services where it will not be
able to fulfil the services, such as the recent spate of yoga studio closures.
 不當地接受付款:如任何商戶就某貨品或服務接受付款時,該商戶(a)意
圖不供應有關貨品或服務,或(b)意圖供應與有關貨品或服務有重大分別
的產品,或(c)沒有合理理由相信該商戶能在指定期間或在合理時間內,
供應有關貨品或服務,該商戶即屬不當地接受付款。這種不良營商手法
的其中一個例子是商戶在臨近倒閉前,仍誘使消費者簽訂預繳服務合約,
而該商戶將根本無法履行合約,如最近接連發生的瑜伽中心倒閉個案。