On August 29, 2019, the Department of Consumer Protection, Executive Yuan (hereinafter referred to as the DCP) and the Korea Consumer Agency (hereinafter referred to as the KCA) officially signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Consumer Protection” (hereinafter referred to as the MOU) in a hope to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. Thereafter, any disputes arising from the transactions of Taiwanese consumers in South Korea can be transferred to the relevant authorities in South Korea through the DCP for coordination. The signing of this MOU not only protects the rights of our consumers more securely, but it is also a very important milestone in international cooperation.
Cross-border transactions are booming and consumer disputes are coming in a throng. In view of the phenomena, the DCP has actively expanded its international business in recent years, including organizing international seminars, participating in international organizations and trying to strengthen cooperation with foreign consumer protection agencies. Today (Aug. 29), the Executive Yuan appointed DCP Director General Liu to sign the MOU with the KCA. It is indeed a real achievement under these efforts.
The DCP said that the KCA is a special public-welfare institution specialized in consumer protection in South Korea. Not only is the KCA responsible for taking the initiative to do proactive research on consumer policies, providing advice to the government in this respect and establishing a consumer information platform to deliver messages to consumers for reference, but the KCA also has the power to mediate by convening the Consumer Dispute Mediation Commission, considered as a quasi-judicial body whose mediation decision has the same effect as the court ruling.
The DCP stressed that Taiwan and South Korea will have full-scale cooperation among all the consumer protection units, including personnel training, product safety information, research results sharing and regular meetings. Of course, top priority is always placed on the cross-border disputes concerning the consumer rights and interests, for which a special person is assigned in either side to convey the appeals and the results. Regardless of whether you buy a product online or in a real store in South Korea, you can file a complaint, as long as the transaction is of a B to C (business to consumer) consumption relationship. The DCP recommended that if you need to file a complaint, please fill in the form attached below by giving sufficient information about the trader and the dispute. At this stage, the DCP is the only contact window with the KCA. Thus, any appeal shall be sent by written mail, fax or e-mail to the DCP for referral (complaint by telephone not accepted).
The DCP reminded that consumer disputes are private disputes. In many countries, government agencies do not intervene in the coordination of individual disputes in principle, and cross-border disputes still need to be handled in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of the host country. At present, the number of countries or consumer advocacy groups that have signed cooperation agreements with Taiwan is limited. In the event of cross-border consumer disputes, it is recommended that you visit the website of the Consumer Protection Committee, Executive Yuan and refer to “the mechanism and pipeline for handling cross-border consumer disputes involving Taiwanese nationals” (Website https://reurl.cc/Ob7A37) for more information on how to protect your own rights and interests.