NFT, NEV-related complaints are on the rise among Chinese consumers
New consumption trends involving new products and services continue to increase in China, as do related complaints in the absence of comprehensive protection mechanisms for consumer rights in these areas.
Consumer complaints about new spending cuts, including new energy vehicles (NEVs), non-fungible token products (NFTs), blind boxes, glamping and skiing, grew the fastest in 2022, according to a new report. It said the diversity of such products and services had “revealed new forms of consumer rights violations and led to new challenges in protecting consumer rights.”
The annual report was released by the China Consumers Association on Tuesday, on the eve of World Consumer Rights Day on March 15. Just as in previous years, complaints about food, clothing and restaurants were the source of most complaints for 2022 as well.
Most complaints involving new energy vehicles were related to false advertising, unfair contracts and poor after-sales services to solve quality problems, such as sudden stops, steering failures and battery damage. China has accelerated the adoption of NEVs in recent years – thanks to government-led efforts – with 4.1% of the country’s vehicles running on green energy by the end of 2022, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
NFTs also topped the consumer watchdog’s complaint list, with complaints about the digital collections rising to almost 60,000 in 2022, up from just 198 the year before. Consumers largely moaned about refunds, price increases and exorbitant transaction fees on NFT products that now range from music to mooncakes and art.
The China Consumers Association said it received 29.41 million complaints and inquiries in 2022, an increase of 23.5% year-on-year, and about 45% of them were from Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces, as well as Beijing and Shanghai. The growth rate of complaints last year was also twice as high as the year before, which the watchdog said was due to the downturn in the economy and logistical obstacles people faced during the pandemic.
With increasing awareness of consumer rights, both Chinese consumers and regulators are paying more attention to products and service providers and putting them under greater scrutiny. The state broadcaster has aired the “315 Evening Gala” on the eve of Consumer Rights Day since 1991, calling out companies for violating consumer interests.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: Visuals from Viaframe/Corbis Creative and Shijue/VCG, re-edited by Sixth Tone)