Sixty-seven per cent of Hong Kong people have experienced intimidation or pressure when purchasing fitness services, a survey by the Democratic Party has suggested. The party called for a cooling-off period for fitness and cosmetics industry products in response to consumer complaints.

According to the phone survey which comprised of 961 interviewees, 75 per cent said the law did not provide enough consumer protection in pre-payment services, while 85 per cent supported establishing a cooling-off period.

Helena Wong Pik-wan and Ramon Yuen Hoi-man. Photo: Democratic Party.

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan suggested that a cooling-off period ought be applied to all contracts concerning pre-payments.

Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, convener of the party’s economic and consumer rights policy team, said that countries such as Singapore, Britain and Sweden had established regulations regarding cooling-off periods which Hong Kong could use as a reference.

Helena Wong Pik-wan and Ramon Yuen Hoi-man. Photo: Democratic Party.

Sixty per cent of interviewees surveyed said a cooling-off period should be strictly enforced, while 20 per cent said industries should enforce a cooling-off period voluntarily.

Yuen said that in the cases which he had dealt with, some big brand cosmetic companies had failed to inform consumers that they voluntarily offered a 24-hour cooling-off period, thus resulting in the consumer not being able to demand refund once passing the deadline.

California fitness.

In April, the Consumer Council publicly condemned fitness centre California Fitness, noting an increase in complaints over the past three years. Some of the complaints concerned customers being coerced into signing up for gym memberships as well as paying for costly fitness trainers.

Gene Lin

Gene Lin is a Journalism and Computer Science student at The University of Hong Kong. He worked as a reporter for the 'LIVE: Verified Updates' during the Occupy Central protests. He is also an editor at HKU's first English-language student paper, The Lion Post.