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Japan: Catalog/Online Shopping and Door-to-Door Sales Regulation Enhanced

(Nov. 27, 2009) The 2008 amendment of Japan's Act on Specified Commercial Transactions (Act No. 57 of 1976, as amended by Act No. 74 of 2008) will be fully effective on December 1, 2009. The Consumer Affairs Agency is publicizing the amendment. Among other changes, adopted in regard to such matters as e-mail advertisement and regulation of consumer credit, door-to-door sales and catalog/online shopping rules were tightened.

If a catalog or online seller does not specify the return policy in its sales materials, the buyer can cancel the purchase within eight days of the buyer's receipt of the goods. The buyer must pay the return shipping fee.

In order to address the problem of door-to-door sales persons persisting in soliciting the purchase of goods and services by the elderly, who are often easily influenced, the amendment prohibits door-to-door sales persons from continuing to solicit after the prospective client expresses his or her intention not to buy a product or a service.

Also, when a buyer has purchased goods or services in an amount beyond what is necessary for ordinary daily life, the buyer can cancel the contract within one year of its signing. (Consumer Affairs Agency and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, “Tokutei shōtorihiki ni kansuru hōritsu” oyobi “kappu hanbai hō” no ishibu o kaisei suru hōritsu ni tsuite [Regarding the Act to Amend Parts of the “Act on Specified Commercial Transactions” and the “Installment Selling Act”] [in Japanese], Sept. 2009, available at [click “Shiryō 1.”].)