In reaction to the changing consumer behavior and to resolve current consumer disputes, the Legislative Yuan amended the Consumer Protection Act ("CPA") on 2 June 2015. Highlights of the amendments are as follows:

1.  Standard Contracts

  1. The CPA provides a reasonable period of 30 days for consumers to preview the contractual terms before signing a standard contract with a business operator. To prevent business operators from imposing a term requiring consumers to surrender such right to preview a standard contract, the amendment nullifies such term from the business operators. (Paragraph 2, Article 11-1)
  2. Even if standard clauses are not prescribed in the standard contract, following the amendment, business operators are now required to disclose them to consumers or make them public. Furthermore, except in transactions originating from vending machines, parking ticket payment machines, and public transportation, and other high-volume transactions, where it is difficult to provide standard contracts, business operators shall provide consumers with standard contracts for execution. Once a standard contract has been signed or sealed by the consumer, an original of the contract shall be provided to the consumer. (Article 13)
  3. Complementary measures were introduced in the amendments in reaction to the central competent authority's objective to have mandatory and prohibitory provisions included in the standard contracts of specially targeted industries. (Article 17) According to such measures, if business operators do not include the mandatory and prohibitory provisions in the standard contracts and do not take corrective action by the time limit given, they will be fined. (Article 56-1)
  4. Business operators are now obligated to provide evidence when they assert that the standard contract signed with consumers complies with the CPA. (Article 17-1)

2. E-commerce Transaction & Door-to-Door Transaction

  1. "Mail-order purchase" is changed to "e-commerce transaction," and "door-to-door sale" is changed to "door-to-door transaction." (Article 2)
  2. For e-commerce transactions and door-to-door transactions, the business operators' contact information, a description of the product or service, specification of the product or service promised for the price, payment date and methods, delivery date, and other transaction terms, as well as whether a seven-day trial is offered and how to file consumer complaints, shall all be written in simple language. (Article 18)
  3. For uncategorized products or services in mail-order purchases or door-to-door sales, a seven-day trial shall be offered. However, to protect the rights of the business operators as well as the consumers, such requirement is now waived under reasonable exceptions. (Proviso of Paragraph 1, Article 19) The amended CPA authorizes the Executive Yuan to determine such reasonable exceptions. (Paragraph 2, Article 19) Legislators are leaning towards making purchasers of fresh produce, which is susceptible to spoilage; audio and video media, which are vulnerable to duplication; and mobile apps, ineligible for the seven-day trial period.
  4. According to the pre-amended CPA, for mail-order purchases and door-to-door sales, where the consumers had notified the business operators of their wish to terminate the contract within the legally prescribed time limit, the business operators had to retrieve goods within a month of receiving the notice. Now the business operators are required to retrieve the goods within 15 days of receiving the notice, and refund the price within 15 days of the retrieval. (Article 19-2)
  5. As advertisements of business operators do not always contain the contractual terms agreed on between the business operators and the consumers, and consumers may be solely relying on the advertisement to sign the contracts, business operators are now required to fulfill their obligations under the contracts and the advertisements. (Paragraph 2, Article 22)

3. Consumer Litigation

  1. In order for business operators to provide better quality products and services, the maximum penalty has been raised for business operators who willfully caused injury or damage. Consumers may demand up to five times the loss or damage, instead of three times, as punitive damages. Moreover, consumers can now demand up to three times the loss or damage as punitive damages when business operators have committed gross negligence that has led to injury or damage. As to damage caused by negligence, the penalty remains the same; consumers may demand one times the loss or damage as punitive damages. (Article 51)
  2. To allow more eligible consumer watchdogs to bring class actions on behalf of consumers and encourage attorneys to take on class action cases, the thresholds for bringing class action suits have been lowered. In addition, the prerequisite of consent from the consumer ombudsman and prohibition against remunerations for attorneys have been abolished. (Article 49)
  3. When numerous consumers have sustained damage or injury in a major consumer dispute, such as a food-safety controversy, and a class action suit is necessary, the central competent authority or the Executive Yuan is now required to ask consumer watchdogs to bring a class action. (Article 60)