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Consultation case search

Following is an introduction of frequently occurring cases of consultation and advice.
However even when the trouble involves the same kind of products and services, the details of the resolution may vary depending on the individual contract and other factors.
If you cannot find a solution in these examples, or if you feel uncertain, please consult with the Kyoto Comprehensive Consumer Center (tel.256-0800) as quickly as possible. (Consultations are available in Japanese only.)

I was using a smartphone to view an adult site, when I received an expensive bill for service charges.

[Consultation case]
The user was using a smartphone to view an adult site. When he clicked on “I am age 18 or older”, the message “Registration completed” appeared, followed by a billing screen demanding payment of an expensive service charge. The billing screen would not go away.

[Advice]
When using a smartphone or PC, if registration occurs and a billing screen appears immediately without any screen to confirm the user’s intentions to accept the fee and contract, then it is not necessary to pay the service charges because no contract has been concluded.
Do not contact the billing party even if there is contact information or a cancellation procedure. Doing so will only provide your personal information to a malicious business operator.
For information about how to remove the billing screen, refer to the IPA (Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan) homepage.

I received mail at my mobile phone demanding payment of service charges for an information site which I had never heard of.

[Consultation case]
The user received a mail at his mobile phone informing him that he was delinquent in payment of charges for an information site that he had used in the past, and that failure to pay would result in legal action. The mail requested that the user contact the sender right away.

[Advice]
If the specific information site name is not listed, it is likely that the mail is a fictitious bill that was sent indiscriminately to many recipients. Contacting the sender will result in the other party knowing your telephone number and other personal information. If you have no memory of using the site and receive such a mail, do not contact the sender, and if the email contains a URL, do not access it.

I bought a brand item via the internet but a different item was delivered.

[Consultation case]
Because a brand item was sold at a discount price on the internet, the user paid the price by bank transfer. However the product which was delivered was different. The user knows only the email address of the seller and receives no answers to his mails.

[Advice]
Internet sellers are required by law to indicate the name of the seller’s representative, as well as the seller’s address and telephone number, on the screen.
Do not use a site where some or all of this information is missing, where the only payment method is payment in advance, where the destination account for payment is an account in an individual’s name with no company name, or where the Japanese on the site is unnatural.
Cooling off does not apply to mail-order sales, including internet sales. When buying a product by mail-order, in advance check the return policy (whether or not returns are accepted, terms of returns, etc.) which the seller is required to post.

My son received a solicitation to participate in internet business from a friend.

[Consultation case]
The user’s university student son received solicitation from a friend claiming that he could earn 100,000 yen for each acquaintance he solicited successfully, and the son signed the contract.

[Advice]
A contract which promises “profits if the user succeeds in signing up others as sales agents” or similar claims, and causes the user to purchase products or receive services and pay fees for them is known as a “pyramid scheme” or “network business”. Although the cooling off period for pyramid schemes is 20 days, a long time may be required before a refund is received, and there are cases when it is impossible to contact the seller and in the end no refund is received.
Moreover, once the user signs the contract, he/she becomes a perpetrator and may destroy valuable relationships with friends. Even when a solicitation comes from a close friend or trusted acquaintance, do not immediately sign a contract or pay money. If it is something you do not need, then you should clearly refuse.

I received an expensive bill from the credit card company due to fees for online games that were played by my elementary school-age daughter.

[Consultation case]
The user’s elementary school-age daughter used her parent’s credit card without permission and purchased items in a smartphone online game. As a result, the user receiving an expensive bill from the credit card company.

[Advice]
Contracts which were concluded by a minor* without the approval of a parent can in general be canceled (cancellation of contracts involving minors). However such cancellation is not permitted when the minor pretended to be an adult when the contract was concluded.
The parent or guardian must exercise careful control of his/her credit cards, and should explain to the child how a credit card works and carefully discuss the methods and rules for playing games.
In addition, the use of settings which allow the parent to control the use of games by minors, or communication service filtering or other means is recommended to prevent trouble.
* Minor: Person aged less than 20. However when a person marries, he/she is considered to be an adult.

A health food product which I did not order was delivered.

[Consultation case]
The user received a telephone call from a business operator who informed him that the health food product which he had ordered would be shipped C.O.D., and that he should pay for the product when it arrives. He assumed that a family member had ordered the product and agreed, however he later found out that no family member had ordered it.

[Advice]
If a product which you did not order arrives, make a note of the sender’s address, company name, and telephone number that are printed on the delivery invoice, then inform the delivery agent that you refuse to accept delivery.
If you agreed on the telephone to accept the product, and ended up accepting a product that you did not order, cooling off is available for 8 days after the contract document was received.

When I asked an agent to buy some items that I did not need, the agent bought precious metals that I did not wish to sell.

[Consultation case]
The user received a telephone call offering to buy any kind of item, and requested that the agent visit her house. The agent asked if she had any precious metals, and when she showed him a ring he offered to buy it for 10,000 yen. No sooner had she agreed than the agent gave her 10,000 yen and left with her ring.

[Advice]
After concluding a contract with a home visit purchasing business, cooling off is available for 8 days from the date when the contract was received.
An operator of a service which buys used precious metals and other items is required by law to carry either a “Dealer in Secondhand Articles License” or “Secondhand Articles Commerce License”.
When such an agent visits your home, request to see that person’s secondhand articles business license, and check the address and other details of the business operator.
If you change your mind and decide not to conclude the contract during the process, or if you have no intention of selling the item, refuse clearly and do not hand the item to the agent.

I requested inspection of my toilet and was charged an expensive work fee.

[Consultation case]
The user requested inspection of a toilet by an agent who came to the user’s home after promising free inspection of plumbing. The agent told him that the drainage pipe was cracked and needed to be fixed immediately. Pressured by the agent, the user then concluded an expensive work contract.

[Advice]
When a contract was concluded as part of a sale at the user’s home, cooling off is available for 8 days from the day when the contract was received.
Water supply and sewerage work can only be performed by contractors who have been designated by Kyoto City. Check the contractors who are designated by Kyoto City on the homepage of the Kyoto City Waterworks Bureau, and select a contractor in advance who you can request work from when needed.
If you are expecting only an inspection and are urged to have unexpected work performed, or are pressured to sign a contract because of a special low price available only at that time, consider whether or not the work is truly necessary, and obtain estimates from multiple contractors in advance to verify the price.

I received a telephone solicitation for purchase of unlisted shares.

[Consultation case]
The user received a telephone call from Company A informing him of unlisted shares that could only be purchased by selected persons, and offering to send him an application. He subsequently received a telephone call from Company B saying that the company wants to buy the unlisted shares of Company A but lacks the standing to do so. Company B offered to pay the user a fee if he would buy the shares on its behalf.

[Advice]
This is a trick known as “theatrical fraud” in which the same business operator plays multiple roles to solicit investment, saying for example, “the price is certain to go up”, “we want you to request shares on our behalf”, or “we want you to lend us your name”. In addition to unlisted shares, this approach may also be used for corporate bonds or financial instruments. In some cases, the perpetrators may use the names of real financial institutions or corporations.
Once the user has paid the money, it is extremely difficult to get back. Moreover, if the user lends his or her name, that user may receive additional calls accusing him/her of “illegal name-lending” and demanding additional unjust payments. It is best never to accept an offer from a suspicious telephone call.
In some cases, a person who had fallen victim to fraud received bills for services from a person introducing him/herself as a lawyer who may be able to recover the damages. Never pay money to such persons.

I received a telephone call offering to tell me the Loto 6 winning numbers in advance.

[Consultation cases]
The user received a telephone call offering to tell him the winning numbers on the night before the Loto 6 numbers were published in the newspaper. The next day when the user checked the winning numbers in the newspaper, they all were correct. The caller then offered to tell him the next winning numbers if he would pay an information fee.

[Advice]
Loto 6 and other lottery results can be checked immediately on the internet after the drawing. This type of fraud is directed at consumers who do not know this. The perpetrator makes the consumer think that he knew the winning lottery numbers in advance, and convinces the consumer to pay money.
If you receive such a call, tell the caller you are not interested and ask never to be called again. Under no circumstances pay money to such persons.

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