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Recent trends in consumer issues | Summary -Part 1 Chapter 3, Section 3-

Part 1 : Today's consumer issues and consumers' behavior/attitude
Chapter 3 : Trends in consumer issues
Section 3 : Recent trends in consumer issues

Contract problems with mobile phones, especially smartphones, increased

  • With the technical advancement and increasingly complex service systems as a backdrop, consumer affair consultations on mobile phone-related cases are increasing year after year.
  • Among the mobile phone-related consultations, the proportion of smartphone-related consultations are on the increase.
  • Consultations on "smartphone-related services" for using digital content such as "adult websites" from smartphones are also increasing, and FY2015 maintained an upward trend.
  • There were reports of cases in which dishonest businesses used prepaid cards, etc. as the payment methods for those.

Figure3-3-1 Consultations related to mobile phones, and of those related to smartphones

Figure3-3-2 Number of consultations on smartphone-related services

Troubles involving SNS are becoming more common among middle-aged and elderly consumers

  • Consumer affairs consultations involving social networking services (SNS) are growing.
  • In recent years, they have also spread among middle-aged and elderly consumers.
    There were about 9,000 consultations in FY2015. Compared to FY2010, this is about 13 times more for the those in their 60s and about 23 times more for those in their 70s and over.
  • The subject of consultation varied widely, such as "SNS connected to adult websites," and "buying supplements as a trial after seeing displayed advertisements somehow led to repeated purchases."

Figure3-3-3 SNS-related consultations

Troubles with Internet connection lines continue to increase, alongside the influence of the wholesale system on optical line connection service

  • Consultations on "Internet connection lines" related to the price and services of providers and Internet lines have increased.
  • Due to the new system introduced in Feb. 2015, the number of consultations on the wholesale of optical line connection service has shot up in FY 2015.

Figure3-3-5 Consultations on Internet connection lines, and of those concerning optical fiber

Figure3-3-6 Consultations on the wholesale of optical line connection service

Consultations on fraudulent tactics involving the elderly are increasing

  • Of the consultations by the elderly, those concerning the fraudulent tactics are increasing in recent years.
  • The most notable in FY 2015 was the fraudulent tactics to suggest the "deletion of leaked personal information."
  • On the other hand, the proportion of consultations from the elderly themselves has increased and the proportion of the cases where the payments had already been made has decreased. The average payment made per consultation case is also going down.
  • It is possible that the awareness raising and enlightenment activities from the administrations and various organizations link to earlier consultations.

Figure3-3-7 Of the consultations by the eldery, percentages of consultations concerning fraudulent tactics Figure3-3-13 Consultations on fraudulent tactics where deletion of leaked personal information is offered

Figure3-3-9 Percentages of consultations on fraudulent tactics by the eldery themselves Figure3-3-10 Percentages of cases where payments had already been made among consultations related to fraudulent tactics involving the elderly

Consultations on the introduction of My Number system are increasing

  • From around October 2015, when the notice of My Number system started, the number of consultations concerning My Number system (started operating in Jan. 2016) increased dramatically.
  • Majority of consultations were “I am being asked to submit My Number, but should I?”.
  • There were some cases of illegal solicitations and activities to obtain personal information.

Figure3-3-14 Consultations on My Number system

Choices of electricity providers opened up with full liberalization of the electricity market, and accordingly the number of consultations increased

  • With the full liberalization of the electricity market in April 2016, many companies such as gas/oil, telecommunications, railway companies, as well as regional power companies have entered the market, offering a wide range of pricing plans and services.
  • The number of consultations on electricity liberalization has gone up dramatically since January in 2016 when advance applications for switching the power companies increased.
  • CAA is raising awareness among consumers by providing advice that there is no need to hastily enter an agreement and they should consider carefully, and the 5 frequent misunderstandings and correct information, as well as warnings against the solicitations of equipment such as solar panels, etc. by piggybacking on the liberalization.

Figure4-5-10 Awareness raising from the Consumer Affairs Agency

Details of awareness raising

Figure3-3-15 Consultations on full liberalization of the electricity market