The Code of Practice of
the Jewellery Retail Industry

Jointly published by the Consumer Council

The Hong Kong Jewellers’ & Goldsmiths’ Association and the Kowloon Pearls, Precious Stones, Jade, Gold and Silver Ornament Merchants Association (collectively known as the Jewellers’ Associations), the Code is a set of self-monitoring measures for voluntary participation of the jewellery retail industry. The Code sets out the basic service standards for the jewellery retail industry of Hong Kong, promotes good operation practices and fair market competition. Jewellery companies adopting the Code should first obtain consent from the Jewellers’ Associations.

Set up under the Code of Practice of the Jewellery Retail Industry (“the Code”), the Complaints Review Committee is an independent committee responsible for enforcing the Code.


Jointly published by the Consumer Council, the Hong Kong Jewellers’ & Goldsmiths’ Association and the Kowloon Pearls, Precious Stones, Jade, Gold and Silver Ornament Merchants Association (collectively known as the Jewellers’ Associations), the Code is a set of self-monitoring measures for voluntary participation of the jewellery retail industry. The Code sets out the basic service standards for the jewellery retail industry of Hong Kong, promotes good operation practices and fair market competition. Jewellery companies adopting the Code should first obtain consent from the Jewellers’ Associations.
The Jewellers’ Associations have set up the Complaints Review Committee to monitor how companies are complying with the Code and to establish an effective mechanism to handle consumers’ complaints, and at the same time, help companies listen to the input of consumers. It also offers consumers a quick and convenient channel to enquire and resolve their complaints, bringing loyal customers to companies and enable companies identify what needs to be improved to prevent the same problem from recurring and affect their reputation, from which their service quality can be enhanced.
The Jewellers’ Associations and the Consumer Council will regularly review the work and effectiveness of the Complaints Review Committee, the level of satisfaction and views of consumers regarding the complaints handled by the Complaints Review Committee, so as to improve the function and performance of the Complaints Review Committee.


The Complaints Review Committee comprises 9 members: Chairperson (cum non-trade member) x 1, non-trade members x 4, trade members x 4. The term of office is two years and members are appointed by the Jewellers’ Associations.


Chairperson and members of the Complaints Review Committee* (appointed on 31 July 2017)
Chairperson: Mr. Vincent FANG Kang
Non-trade members: - Hon SHIU Ka-fai, Ms. MAK TANG Pik Yee, Agnes, Mr. WONG Ka-wo, and Mr. CHUNG Pui-lam, Solicitor
Trade members: - Mr. CHOW Kit-shing, Mr. LEUNG Wing-keung, Dr. Dominic MOK, Mr. LAU Hak-bun
(in order of the number of strokes of Chinese characters)

Function

The independent Complaints Review Committee impartially processes complaints of companies violating the Code, under the principle that there is no existing or upcoming commercial interest with the matter under review. When it handles a complaint, the Complaints Review Committee focuses on resolving issues under the premise of shared gain for both parties and the long-term customer relationship; the focus does not fall on judging who is right and who is wrong.
The principle for the complaint handling service of the Complaints Review Committee is to facilitate easy access, convenience and ease of use for consumers. Whether consumers use the complaint handling mechanism of the Complaints Review Committee is completely voluntary by nature and would not hinder the consumers’ compensation seeking through legal procedures or taking further actions through other complaint channels.
By providing a dispute resolution that is more effective than the legal route, the handling mechanism of the Complaints Review Committee could arrive at an outcome of the complaint as soon as possible, such that the relevant matter can be quickly rectified to protect the interests of both parties.



Complaint handling

During complaint handling, the identity of the complainant is kept confidential. The Complaints Review Committee would take measures to protect the confidential information involved in the complaint to ensure that the relevant confidential information is only used for handling the complaint. To prevent compromises to the confidential information, access to such is prohibited unless authorised by the Complaints Review Committee.

The primary principle of the complaint handling mechanism is fairness, which gives both parties the reasonable opportunity to present the case, to listen to and to respond to the points raised by the opposite party. While the consumer raising the complaint does not have to be represented by a solicitor, it is also unnecessary to stop them from being represented by a solicitor or other persons. When conducting the review, the Complaints Review Committee would ensure that all the members of the company under complaint and other persons affected by the review outcomes would all have a chance to express their views regarding the review.
If the complaint handling involves third-party fees that are unavoidable or require payment by the complainant, such as testing or authentication service fees, the Complaints Review Committee should first inform and obtain approval from the complainant before proceeding.

The Complaints Review Committee has established a duty member system, in which three duty members are in charge of each quarter. There are at least two non-trade members (including the chairperson) and one trade member to handle complaint cases of their quarter. This could prevent the need for all committee members to be present at each meeting and minimise the administration work and burden of the Complaints Review Committee and the Jewellers’ Associations. The Complaints Review Committee would decide on the number of meetings to convene based on the number of complaints received. The Complaints Review Committee would also decide whether it needs to invite other committee members and professionals to attend and offer relevant opinions based on the types of complaint items received, such as method of sales, quality authentication, service quality, etc. However, the voting rights are only enjoyed by members of the Complaints Review Committee. Complaints are handled at the meeting by duty members. The number of the non-trade members (including the chairperson) presents at each meeting shall be greater than that of the trade members.

To prevent waste of resources on reviewing unsubstantiated or trivial complaints, the Complaints Review Committee has rules in place to prevent abuse of the complaint mechanism. The Complaints Review Committee would make clear and explain the reasons for not following up a complaint. To enhance the transparency and credibility of the mechanism, the Complaints Review Committee has the right to report anonymously its decisions on the review outcomes and on not to follow up a complaint in the publications of members’ communications of the Jewellers’ Associations, and to publicise such on the website of the Jewellers’ Associations as a way to educate the public. These would be done in a manner that no information of the complainant and the company under complaint (including the name of the company, the company’s address, the names of the complainant or the person-in-charge / shop clerk of the company, etc.) is disclosed.


Complaint process

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Complaints Review Committee would conduct a preliminary assessment to decide whether the complaint is substantiated based on the working mechanism. According to the actual circumstances, the Complaints Review Committee may require the company and/or the complainant to provide additional information regarding the complaint to help it handle the case.

The Complaints Review Committee shall provide guidance to the complainant regarding how to fill out the application form and to describe the complaint, explains the steps of handling the complaint, as well as offer contact information such that the complainant could check the progress of complaint handling.

The Complaints Review Committee shall make arrangements on substantiated complaints for handling in the next meeting of the Complaints Review Committee, which should complete the review within two months of a substantiated complaint and inform the company under complaint and the complainant about the decision.

In addition to complaints directly raised by complainants, the Complaints Review Committee also handles cases referred by the Consumer Council or the jewellery company upon consent of the complainant.

Penalty

For a case decided to be violating the Code, the Complaints Review Committee can take out the necessary actions based on the Constitution, including:
  • Requesting the company to stop or prohibiting it from conducting the violation behaviour investigated by the Complaints Review Committee;
  • Requesting the company to implement remedial measures;
  • The company may be required to conduct training events to educate its staff such that the staff understands the decision of the Complaints Review Committee regarding violation of good practices, as well as the idea of promoting competition;
  • The company may be required to bear the fees incurred by the Complaints Review Committee during the investigation period, (including but not limited to the third-party fees already paid by the complainant, e.g. testing or authentication service fees); and/or
  • Should the company under complaint fail to comply with the decision of the Complaints Review Committee, the Complaints Review Committee could consider the level of penalty based on the severity of the breach behaviours as well as the past records of the company. This may include suggesting to the Jewellers’ Associations to disqualify the company from the list of members bearing the accredited certification mark of the Code, and to immediately return the certification mark to the Jewellers’ Associations for cancellation.

Duty members of the Complaints Review Committee

 

First quarter


Chairperson: Chairman Mr. Vincent FANG Kang
Non-trade members: Mr. CHUNG Pui-lam
Trade members: Mr. LAU Hak-bun

Second quarter


Chairperson: Chairman Mr. Vincent FANG Kang
Non-trade members: Mr. WONG Ka-wo
Trade members: Mr. CHOW Kit-shing

Third quarter


Chairperson: Chairman Mr. Vincent FANG Kang
Non-trade members: Ms. MAK TANG Pik Yee, Agnes
Trade members: Mr. LEUNG Wing-keung

Fourth quarter


Chairperson: Chairman Mr. Vincent FANG Kang
Non-trade members: Hon SHIU Ka-fai
Trade members: Dr. Dominic MOK

Should the chairperson be absent, the chair shall be filled by a non-trade member attending the meeting, and a non-trade member of the next meeting shall fill the acting chairperson’s position as a non-trade member.

TELEPHONE:(852) 2877 1022
EMAIL:cpjrcomplaint@gmail.com