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BIC case included in CCA’s 2023 top 10 cases on consumption right protection

english.bjinternetcourt.gov.cn | Updated: 2024-03-18


A case heard by the Beijing Internet Court (BIC) was included in the country's top 10 typical judicial cases for consumer rights protection in 2023.

The list was released by the China Consumers Association (CCA) on March 15, World Consumer Rights Day 

Case summary

The plaintiff surnamed Dong purchased a product through an e-commerce grocery platform; the payee was Beijing Shihui Technology Co Ltd (Shihui), one of the defendants. The product's net weight was proven to be significantly lower than indicated on the label.

The defendant – Shihui –failed to provide evidence that it was only providing the platform function and was not the seller of the product. Another defendant, Pinxiangju Food Trading Company, also denied having sold the product involved to the plaintiff.

Claiming that Shihui is a business operator selling substandard food, the plaintiff demanded that the compensation liabilities be jointly borne by the food manufacture Kaikefeng and the food trading company Pinxiangju.

The BIC ruled that the defendant Shihui was liable for a refund, and the defendant MaiKefeng was liable for punitive damages of 500 yuan ($69.13). 

Expert opinion

Operators of the platform-based community group-purchasing and selling in WeChat groups and mini-programs should disclose the seller's entity information by proper means. If the failure to disclose according to the law results in consumers being unable to protect their rights, those operators should bear the responsibility of the seller if they cannot prove that they are only transaction services providers and meanwhile provide the actual identity of the seller. 

Tips for parties involved in dispute

In community group-purchasing, platforms should clearly indicate the identity of the seller. In the event of consumer disputes, if the platform fails to provide relevant information, consumers have the right to demand that the platform assume the responsibility of the seller.