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Opinion
Differentiated Standards for Online and Offline Products
 NO. 28 JULY 13, 2017

A report published by China Consumers Association on June 28 has found that products offered in brick-and-mortar stores are usually priced higher than identical items sold online and their quality is also better than that of those sold online. This indicates that some enterprises have double standards for online and offline products.

Consumers choose to shop online both for the convenience and for the cheaper prices. However, the double standard has led to consumers sacrificing quality for lower prices in online shopping.

Such a double standard may sometimes mean cheating customers. The report says that several products available online are sold despite their failure to meet national standards.

Consumers' interests are inevitably harmed in the process. Normally, consumers' expectations of online products are based on the quality of the same products sold offline. Different quality standards of online and offline products prevent online products from meeting consumers' expectations. Consumers' trust and confidence in the brand will be damaged. In the long run, the brand's reputation, formed over time, will be destroyed and its growth hindered.

To win over consumers, enterprises should uphold honesty and integrity. Otherwise, they will not only be subject to punishment by government authorities, but also pay a heavy price for their dishonest practices.

(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Legal Daily on June 29) 

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