No brand has exceptional privileges over consumers: China Consumers Association on Canada Goose double-standard issues
Published: Dec 02, 2021 11:48 AM
Canada Goose Photo:VCG

Canada Goose Photo:VCG

No brand should have privilege over consumers, the China Consumers Association (CCA) stated on Thursday in response to consumers' complaints over non-refundable policies in Chinese market of Canadian luxury parka maker Canada Goose.

The brand has been under fire since Tuesday when the brand, citing a double-standard which led to declining refunds for a Chinese consumer who bought a down jacket at a Canada Goose store in Shanghai on October 27 and later found quality problems in trademark embroidery, poor stitching and an unusual smell.

When purchasing the product, the customer was asked to sign a document that included a return policy, with the first clause saying that "Unless otherwise provided by applicable laws, all products sold at Canada Goose's retail stores in the Chinese mainland are strictly non-refundable."

On October 28, the consumer filed a complaint with the store, but the manager said that she could not refund the product and the request would be forwarded to the upper levels of the business. 

CCA said that respecting consumers' rights and protecting consumers' rights and interests is the due obligation of operators. In this regard, no enterprise or brand has exceptional privileges. 

"If the brand sees itself as a big brand, and engages in double standards, discriminates against consumers, it will fail in the market ," the CCA said.

According to the law on the consumer protection if the goods or services provided by business operators do not meet quality requirements, consumers can ask for return, replacement or repair of purchased goods,  or negoiate with the vendor. In the absence of negotiation, the consumers may return the goods within seven days from the date of purchase or receipt of the goods. 

In terms of the clause that Canada Goose has asked the consumer to sign, the national Civil Code stated that if business operators have set various unreasonable terms and thresholds for consumers to claim rights due to product quality problems it is suspected of violating relevant laws and infringing on the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. 

In addition to the controversial refund policy in offline retail stores, the brand was also found to have imposed double-standard return policies for their online sales channel.

The online double-standard of operations is clear, the company representatives confirmed the relevant clauses on the 30-day unconditional refund on the Canada Goose official website, and stated that this clause does not apply to the Chinese mainland, where a 7-day unconditional refund clause applies.

In response to its different return policy between China and other markets, Canada Goose said "Canada Goose strictly abides by Chinese laws and regulations, based on which, we build and implement our return and refund policies, and will continuously elevate customer experience," the company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday evening.

On Wednesday, the brand said that all products sold at Canada Goose's retail stores in the mainland are refundable in line with Chinese laws.

"In the first clause, the policy outlines that all products sold at Canada Goose's retail stores in Chinese mainland are refundable, subject to applicable laws. The policy also states in the seventh clause that 'the exchange policy does not affect the customers' rights under applicable laws,'" the company said.

The brand has been summoned by Shanghai authorities for talks over its sales policy and urged to submit an official interpretation of the policy by noon on Thursday.

The brand's controversial product return policy in the Chinese mainland had ignited anger among Chinese consumers. Related topics have been trending on Chinese Twitter-like social media Sina Weibo since Tuesday, with many calling for a boycott on the brand.

"If you don't buy it, there will not be refund problems. Let's not make trouble for these double standards companies in the future," a Chinese netizen named LENGLAN2020 said on Weibo.

"Now change your attitude? Unfortunately, it's too late," said another Chinese netizen named Yiyu33.