Press Release



LCQ10:Malpractices of removal companies


Following is a question by the Hon Bernard Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Ms Sandra Lee, in the Legislative Council today (November 1):


On September 19, the Consumer Council named two local removal companies for trade malpractices. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the other forms of assistance that the Consumer Council and other relevant authorities can offer to the victims concerned; and

(b) given that many patrons of transboundary removal services are expatriates, whether it has assessed if Hong Kong's international reputation has been tarnished by such malpractices; if the reputation has been tarnished, of the remedial actions it will take?


Madam President,

(a) Apart from naming the two removal companies to alert the public of their malpractices, the Consumer Council has provided assistance to the complainants concerned in the form of -

(i) mediation with the removal companies with a view to settling the complaints. With the Council's mediation, two cases involving these companies have recently been resolved to the complainants' satisfaction. Mediation is ongoing with other cases;

(ii) advice on seeking legal redress through the Small Claims Tribunal or a higher court depending on the amount of claim. The Council is prepared to send a representative to act as witness in such cases; and

(iii) referral of cases involving any possible criminal elements to the Police for investigation.

(b) The number of complaints made to the Consumer Council in respect of transboundary removal services has been relatively small. The majority of such complaints received since the beginning of 1999 actually involved the two named companies. While we strongly disapprove of the malpractices, there is no evidence to suggest that Hong Kong's international reputation has been tarnished by these incidents.

The naming of the two companies by the Council has been effective in raising the awareness of the general public as well as deterring service providers from malpractices. We believe that consumer education remains an effective means to counter malpractices. In this regard, the press release issued by the Council on September 19, 2000 (which is also posted on its website) contained a checklist of points for consumers to note in engaging removal services. The same advice was also published in the October 2000 edition of the Choice Magazine. Meanwhile, the Council continues to be proactive in disseminating consumer protection information widely through its vast network of 12 consumer advice centres in Hong Kong and its consumer affairs counterparts overseas.

End/Wednesday, November 1, 2000