Food sector gets a taste of good and bad

The number of online shopping complaints received by the Consumer Council has increased by 73 percent to 10,686 last year, with food-delivery platforms and restaurants seeing an almost two-fold rise to 1,253 cases.

Last year's total of 30,764 complaints were up 12 percent over 2021.

The 10,686 online shopping grouses involved a total value of over HK$36 million, nearly double that of 2021.

"New economy such as online shopping is taking its toll. We are seeing a continuing increase in complaints related to online shopping and we are expecting that trend to continue," chairman Clement Chan Kam-wing said.

Of the online complaints, 1,748 cases were related to food and entertainment services.

Food delivery platforms and restaurants drew the most complaints, seeing an almost two-fold increase from 423 cases in 2020 to 1,253.

The council also received 1,611 online complaints over travel matters.

It said complaints over quarantine hotel bookings quadrupled to 779.

Some 90 percent of these were related to price or charges, as well as variations or terminations of contracts.

Electrical appliances also drew 947 online shopping complaints.

The watchdog said the three major categories of online shopping complaints reflected the disparity in quality of internet shopping services and overhaul across all industries.

"Late/Non-deliver/Loss" was tops in terms of the number of online shopping complaints at 3,922, more than double that of 2021.

Of the 30,764 total, 54 percent involved services and 46 percent goods, a ratio similar to the past.

There were also complaints involving property, automobiles, clothing and apparel.

Fitness, beauty and wedding services saw a nearly 60 percent drop to 656 cases, but that was put down to fallout from the pandemic.

"We envisage that complaints related totally to Covid-19 will reduce likely because of the ending of the pandemic and returning to normality. But we still need to observe and see whether that will be the case," Chan said.