Taipei City fined Google NT$1 Million for Consumer Protection Law Violation。
Taipei City Government issued a press release this morning, stating that Taipei City Government will fine Google NT$1 Million for its noncompliance of Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Law, which ensures cell phone consumers a 7-day trial period after purchasing any software via the company platform. Google has until July 1 to correct such violation, or else another fine will be applied, provided in the press release.
Dr. Ching-Yuan Yeh, Chairman of Law and Regulation Commission of Taipei City Government, pointed out that the terms of service for Google’s Android Market specifically restrict consumers’ right of asking a refund from 7 days to 15 minutes after the purchase, which clearly violates Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Law for not providing a 7-day trial and a refund period. Chairman Yeh further stated Google’s decision to suspend its sale of paid APP to Taiwan consumers is like using Taiwan’s consumers as a shield to demand the privilege of not complying with Taiwanese law. “We cannot agree with such attitude,” said Chairman Yeh.
Bi-Chu Chen, Chief Consumer Protection Officer of Taipei City Government, added that Taiwan’s court and central government has repeatedly held that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to comply with the 7-day trial and refund period provided under Sec. 19 of Consumer Protection Law. Last year, PCHOME, a Taiwan ISP, challenged such interpretation in the administrative appeal procedure and lost the appeal, explained Chen. Chairman Yeh further emphasized that Taipei City Government cannot tolerate such blunt violation of law – which uses unfavorable standard contract terms to transfer consumers’ right of demanding a refund to Google’s mercy.
Taipei City Government urges Google to comply with Taiwanese law, as compliance with laws of each jurisdiction is basic in international trade. Chairman Yeh noted that other international ISPs like Yahoo! and Apple all agree to comply with Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Law, thus Google cannot demand the privilege of noncompliance. Chairman Yeh also explained that both Apple and Google have the ability to monitor cell phones and to verify what APPs are still used by cell phone users. Therefore, there is no risk that cell phone users might demand a refund and continue to use the APP.
Chief Consumer Protection Officer Chen said that Google will send a delegate to Taipei to discuss with Taipei City Government officials in person this coming Thursday. Taipei City Government will decide whether it should give Google another fine higher than NT$1 Million based on Google’s response then.