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Q&A about Advertisements for Mail Order Sales

Selling prices (consideration for the services)

Q1Does the selling price mean the actual sales price?
A1The selling price is the price used in the actual transaction (actual sales price). Even if prices called market price, listed price, manufacturer's recommended price, standard price, normal price in this shop are indicated, it does not mean the actual sales price is indicated if a price which is different from these is used in actual sales.
Q2Our company indicates only listed prices without indicating selling prices and informs consumers of the selling prices upon their inquiry. Is this acceptable?
A2The proviso to Article 11 of the Specified Commercial Transactions Act specifies that, if a business operator prefers not to indicate the "price," "shipping charges," or "other costs to be borne," they are allowed to omit indication of some matters such as selling prices, as far as they indicate a note in the advertisement to the effect that selling prices, etc. will be provided without delay in writing or by e-mail upon a consumer's request. Therefore, if the price cannot be indicated, please inform the consumer using such methods.
Q3Our company is not able to indicate fixed prices because we deal in goods whose prices vary dynamically depending on the market price. What should we do in this case?
A3If the selling prices cannot be indicated, you may choose to inform consumers individually in writing or by e-mail based on the special provision that allows the omission of a portion of the matters to be indicated like Q2. However, from the viewpoint of preventing disputes, it is desirable to show the maximum and minimum prices or an estimated price range to give consumers a rough idea of the price they will have to pay.
Q4Our company deals in many kinds of goods. Is it necessary to indicate shipping charges for each item?
A4Generally, shipping charges differ depending on the size and weight of the goods and the delivery region, and thus it is permitted not to indicate shipping charges for each and every good, as far as the information about shipping charges is indicated in a way that consumers can easily understand the rough estimate of what they will have to pay for shipment, by indicating the maximum and minimum charges, the average charge, or several example cases, etc.

If there are charges other than the selling price or shipping charges which the purchaser should pay, their details and amounts

Q5Is it possible to state "a COD commission and packing charges will be charged?"
A5The specific amount of money needs to be shown. Consumers are made to bear the amount which business operators set for COD commission or packing charges, and consumers cannot estimate how much it will be in advance if the amount is not specifically shown, therefore the amount of money needs to be stated.

Time at which the goods will be delivered (time at which the rights will be transferred, or time at which the services will be provided)

Q6How do I indicate the time at which goods will be delivered?
A6It is necessary to clearly indicate the time at which the goods will be delivered by showing a period, or a deadline. For example, please indicate "within ○○ days," "by ○ month ○ day." The expressions "immediately" or "promptly," or other expressions that mean that the goods will be delivered without taking a long time, are also permitted as they are considered to clarify the time at which the goods will reach consumers.
Q7Is the description "we will ship in-stock items on the same day we receive orders, and back-order items as soon as the item arrives" considered to be a description of the time at which goods will be delivered?
A7The time at which goods will be delivered shall be indicated as a period, or a deadline. The words "as soon as the item arrives" do not mean that the period is indicatThis is because the consumer's status becomes unstable if it is unclear when the goods will be delivered after the consumer made the offer. The specific indications such as "within ○○ days" or "by ○○ month ○○ day" are necessary.
Q8Is the indication "we will ship after we confirm the payment" considered to be a description of payment timing and the time at which the goods will be delivered?
A8With that expression, the payment timing of charges may be assumed to be prepaid, but the time at which the goods will be delivered is not clarified as it is necessary to indicate such time as a period or a deadline. In the case of the indication "we will ship as soon as we confirm the payment," it is considered that the time at which the goods will be delivered is well-described.

Matters regarding special provisions on the acceptance (return) of goods after the delivery of goods (transfer of rights) (if there are no such special provisions, a note to that effect)

Q9Is the indication "the return of goods without defects is negotiable on a case-by-case basis" considered to be an indication of special provisions on returns?
A9Whether the goods can be returned would be one of the important factors that consumers would consider when they decide to purchase the goods. Thus, the Act obliges business operators to clearly indicate special provisions on returns, i.e.
"whether returns are possible," "conditions such as return period," and "the necessity of shipping charges for return" (if there are no special provisions on returns, a note to that effect).
The inquired indication is not deemed to be notification before the purchase of goods of whether returns are possible, and thus it is necessary to clearly indicate whether returns are possible. For example, an indication like A or B below should be provided.
A: Show examples of cases where returns are accepted (several cases) and examples of cases where returns are not accepted (several cases)
B: Show some examples of cases where returns are not accepted as exceptions, and indicate that in all other cases returns are accepted, like "Returns are accepted except for the cases of ○○."
By the way, the above is about the provisions for clarifying whether returns are accepted when the goods do not have defects, but on the other hand, if special provisions on the seller's warranty against defects are provided for cases where the goods have defects, indication to that effect is necessary (if special provisions on the seller's warranty against defects are not provided, the general principle of the Civil Code will be followed).
Q10Even if returns are not accepted, is it necessary to indicate that?
A10 With regard to special provisions on returns (special provisions permitting returns when the goods do not have defects and the seller does not violate the contract), if there are no such special provisions (= returns are not accepted when the goods do not have defects),
it is necessary to clearly indicate to that effect in the advertisements. When the return of goods without defects is not accepted, it is necessary to clarify that returns are not accepted if the goods do not have defects by indicating, e.g.,
"returns are not accepted except for cases where goods have defects." On the other hand, if special provisions on the seller's warranty against defects are provided for cases where the goods have defects,
indication to that effect is necessary (if special provisions on the seller's warranty against defects are not provided, the general principle of the Civil Code will be followed).

Name, address, and telephone number of the business operator

Q11I am engaged in business personally. Does even an individual business operator need to indicate the business operator's name?
A11It is essential to clarify where the responsibility lies in operating a business. Thus, both a juridical person and an individual need to indicate their names. In addition, if the business operator is a juridical person, and websites or e-mails are used for advertising, it is necessary to indicate the names of the representative or the person responsible for businesses related to Mail Order Sales. The person responsible for businesses related to Mail Order Sales means the responsible person among persons who conduct practical work such as officers or directors in charge of the practical operation of the businesses related to Mail Order Sales, and does not always mean a person having the right of representation.
Q12I am an individual business operator; do I need to indicate an address?
A12It is necessary to indicate an address at which you are actually doing your business without any omission (e.g., including room number). Even an individual business operator needs to indicate the location of his/her office as an address. If an individual is doing his or her business at home, it is necessary to indicate the home address.
Q13Although the instruction for address indication says that an address on a register or on a certificate of residence, or an address at which they are actually doing business need to be indicated, is it possible to indicate a P.O. box which can ensure contact by post.
A13The "address" in this Act means a place which serves as a base for marketing such as the location of the main office in the case of a company. The indication of a P.O. box does not fall under the indication of such places, and thus it is not considered to be the indication of "address."
Q14 I am an individual business operator; do I need to indicate a telephone number?
A14It is necessary to indicate a telephone number in the advertisements in order to respond to inquiries from consumers when doing business. Even an individual business operator needs to indicate the telephone number of his or her office. If an individual is doing his or her business at home, it is necessary to indicate the home telephone number.
Q15If I indicate a telephone number, the phone rings 24 hours a day, do I need to deal with them?
A15Viewed in terms of common sense, a phone-answering machine can be used during the time the business is closed such as at night.