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Overview of consumer affairs consultation | Summary -Part 1 Chapter 1, Section 3-

Part 1 : Trends in consumer issues and consumers' attitude/behavior
Chapter 1 : Collection of information on consumer accidents and result of analysis
Section 3 : Overview of consumer affairs consultation

The number of consumer affairs consultations in 2016 was as large as 887,000, still indicating a high level.

  • The number of consumer affairs consultations in 2016 was 887,000.
  • Although the number declined from 2015, it remained high.
  • As informatization has spread further among a broad range of age groups, there was a rise in the number of consultations related to information and communications such as those related to the Internet.
  • The number of consultations related to billing fraud was 77,000. It was nearly equal to the amount in the previous year, but an increase from 5 years ago.

Figure Ⅰ-1-3-1 Changes in the number of consumer affairs consultations

The number of consumer affairs consultations per population in the age groups of 20s and 30s decreased.

  • When we take a look at the changes in the number of consumer affairs consultations per 1,000 citizens, there were 10.8 cases in 2007 in the age group of 20s and that decreased to 6.1 cases in 2016. It also decreased in the age group of 30s, from 11.5 cases in 2007 to 7.0 cases in 2016. For the age group of 65 years & over, it increased from 5.5 cases in 2007 to 7.0 cases in 2016.
  • The decrease in the youths seems to be attributable to the decrease of consultations related to street scams and the decline of consultations related to "adult websites" (refer to page 14).
  • The reason for the increase in the older generation may include the enlightenment activities to encourage early reporting, and more consultations being conducted because of the strengthening of the protection system for the elderly, in addition to the increase of fraudulent tactics targeting the elderly.

Figure Ⅰ-1-3-2 Changes in the number of consumer affairs consultations per 1,000 citizens

Consultations related to "communications services" are by far the largest in number.

  • The breakdown of the 2016 consultations by product/service type shows that "communications services," which are mostly related to information and communications, including digital contents on a website, were by far the largest category in the number of consultations, with about 260,000 consultations received. However, payments made per case were small, at \27,000 on average.
  • "Financial & insurance services" was the second largest category in the number of consultations.

Figure Ⅰ-1-3-3 The number of consumer affairs consultations and average payments made, by product/service type (Y2016)

Consultations related to "communications services" are common in a wide range of age groups.

  • Many of the consumer affairs consultations were related to "communications services," such as digital content, Internet connection lines, mobile phones and other communications services, in a wide range of age groups.
  • The number of consultations was higher in the age group of 60s for men and 40s for women.
  • There were more consultations related to women than men, regarding "foodstuffs", etc. such as health foods, etc.

Figure Ⅰ-1-3-7 The percentage of consumer affairs consultations by product/service type, by gender and age group (Y2016)

Consumer affairs consultations for the elderly are still at a high level.

  • The number of consumer affairs consultations for the elderly peaked in 2013, and though it has been in a downward trend, the level was still high.
  • Consultations on digital content, etc. among the consultations related to the Internet increased in 2016. On the other hand, consultations about financial products have decreased. Consultations related to receiving suspicious phone calls often include cases without any specific information about the products.

Figure Ⅰ-1-3-10 The number of consumer affairs consultations for elderly people

Figure Ⅰ-1-3-11 Product/service types dealt in the consultations related to elderly people (top 5)

The percentage of consultations about "online stores" increased.

  • The breakdown of consultations by sales/purchase methods indicate that the percentage of "purchase at stores" is declining, while that of "online stores" is increasing. Consultations for consumers aged under 65 years account for 34.8% of the total.
  • Among consultations related to the elderly aged 65 years & over, the ratio of "telemarketing sales" accounting for the large proportion in recent years has decreased and instead "online stores" have increased.
  • "Door-to-door sales" accounts for over 40% in the elderly people with dementia, etc., where they are considered to have lower judgement ability.

Figure Ⅰ-1-3-14 Changes in the breakdown of consultations by sales/purchase method