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Authority unveils online consumer protection law

China’s industry and commerce authority unveiled an e-commerce regulation on Thursday, adding measures to better protect online consumers and further clarify the obligations of online marketplaces.

The regulation on online transactions, unveiled by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, will go into effect from March 15.

The regulation includes revisions to the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, which was passed by the top legislature in October and will also be implemented on March 15.

According to the regulation, online consumers are allowed a seven-day period to return goods for refunds, though it does not apply to the purchase of customized products, fresh and perishable products, digital products such as software and online downloadable products, and newspapers and magazines.

Online business owners or service providers are barred from using unfair competitive practices to harm other business owners, such as using similar domain names, titles or logos of well-known companies.

The regulation will replace an older regulation enacted in July 1, 2010.