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Senior Citizens Deceived by Sleazy Sales Tactics in a Year Accounts for 23.3% 2016-10-12

Senior Citizens Deceived by Sleazy Sales Tactics in a Year Accounts for 23.3%

- and the damage amounts to KRW 125,600 per capita -


     Low fertility rates and rising life expectancy leads to a more rapidly ageing population in Korea. The number of households of senior citizens who live alone is also increasing and their economic activities have become more active. Consumer damage of the elderly, however, is on the rise accordingly.

the numbers of application for conusmer complaint redress of the elderly that the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) received are: 1,996 in 2013, 2,342 in 2014, and 2,326 in 2015.


    □ A study suggests that 77% of elderly consumers have experienced sleazy sales tricks, and 23.3% of them have got actual damage.

    The Korea Consumer Agency(www.kca.go.kr) conducted a survey targeting 300 elderly consumers, which showed that 77% of them (231 respondents) have experienced unscrupulous sales pitch within the past year. The top three tactics include intriguing them with free gifts (70.7%), seducing them with free tourism (17.3%), and luring them away to illegal promotion venue (14.3%).



     The result indicates that 59.0% of the interviewees (177 people) actually purchased goods including health supplement food (51.7%), daily supplies/kitchenwares (45.8%), healthy bedding wares (27.7%), health supplement devices (26.0%). The biggest reason for such purchases is that they heard those products are good for their health and disease treatment (46.3%).

    The respondents who experienced damage due to misleading sales tactics constitutes 23.3% (70 people), and the average amount of damage is KRW 125,600.


    □  Elderly consumers’ damage accounts for 8.4% of the total applied cases for damage redress, and sales pitch is continuously causing damage.

    The number of applied cases for damage redress to the KCA from 2013 to 2015, in which the age information of the applicants are identified, is 79,246. Among them, the number of application for redress of consumers aged over 60 is 6,664, which constitutes 8.4%, on three-year average, of the total.


    To elaborate, damage related to various deceiving sales tactics targeting senior consumers takes up 8.4% of the aggregate in 2013, 10.3% in 2014, 8.6% in 2015, and 9.1% on the three-year average. The most used strategy was luring them away to an illegal promotion venue, with 161 applications for the period as shown in the survey.


    □  Funeral services are the biggest contributor to elderly consumers’ damage from unscrupulous sales

    The biggest factor that made senior consumers apply for damage redress is funeral services. The sum of the redressed damage from the funeral services is 721, 25.9% (187 cases) of which are from heinous sales tricks such as bring them to an illicit promotion venue.


    In order to prevent elderly consumers’ damage pragmatically, the KCA will provide cases of businesses violating the laws to the Judicial Police of Seoul which is in charge of investigation of livelihood crimes. Furthermore, it will offer a training course to senior consumers through Seoul Senior Counselling and is planning to request for more efforts to prevent damage from funeral services to Korea Mutual Aid Cooperative Association (KMACA).



■ Consumer Complaint Cases






    ■ Precautions for Preventing Consumer Damage


     □ When signing a contract at a promotion or exhibition venue, consumers should not be seduced by false/exaggerated advertisement and buy goods on impulse. Rather, they should consider as to whether those are really necessary to themselves.

    □ Consumers must keep the copy of contract and put verbal promises on it.

    □ If consumers want to cancel their purchase, especially when they purchased goods at certain places such as promotion/exhibition venues or even on streets, they should request cancellation within two weeks from the purchasing date with offering evidence of such purchases.

    * In case where consumers did not get a copy of the contract from the mutual aid provider, they can withdraw their subscription within three months from the signing date.

    □ Consumers must be aware that they cannot cancel the contract of buying health supplement food or have to pay an excessive amount of penalty for breaching the contract when it is opened.


     Precautions on Mutual Aid Services


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