Wang Hai, China's famous consumer rights advocate, has submitted to a 3,000-word report to both the Zhejiang Provincial Department for Industry and Commerce and the Consumer Rights and Interests Protection Department of China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce, accusing Chinese online auction website Taobao.com of infringing on consumers' rights.
In his report, Wang listed five major problems of Taobao.com, which is owned by Alibaba, saying that the website conceals the real information of its online store owners, conspires with its online stores in not issuing shopping records such as an invoices to consumers, allows some online stores to operate illegally, ignores online credit fraud, and releases advertisements for fake and substandard goods in China.
Wang, who has been compared to American consumer crusader Ralph Nader, said that Taobao.com is capable of verifying online store operators' real identities and providing the data to consumers, but it has not done so nor reminded consumers of the risks caused by this lack of important information. He said that he made the report based on consumers' complaints. He told local Chinese media that he recently received dozen of complaints against Taobao.com.
A representative from Taobao.com has responded via local media to Wang's accusation of Taobao not verifying online store owners, saying that the company has double verified the information of all its online store operators. Taobao.com goes further and reportedly says Wang's claims show that he not only lacks online shopping experience, but also lacks an understanding of Taobao's shopping flow.
This past week has been buzzing with news about consumer matters in China, as the nation celebrated World Consumer Rights Day on March 15.