Home shopping’s dirty business

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Home shopping’s dirty business

Six home shopping networks failed to reach an agreement to refund consumers’ purchases of herbal medicine that contained Cynanchum auriculatum Royal, banned by the state healthy authority for use in consumer products. GS Home Shopping, CJ O Shopping, Hyundai Home Shopping, NS Home Shopping and Home & Shopping were required to hand in a uniform refund policy to the Korea Consumer Agency by Friday.

But they wrapped up the meeting without reaching a consensus. Some companies wanted to wait longer to minimize financial losses. Only the two biggest - GS Home Shopping and CJ O Shopping - announced their refund policy. They said they will refund customers for their remaining stock of the product. Others said they were still discussing measures. They are suspected of trying to buy time and escape the government’s requirement that home shopping channels, the largest retail route for the health products, compensate consumers.

The Korea TV Home Shopping Association asked the government to probe the matter more thoroughly and quickly. It added that the industry will also try to come up with a damage plan as soon as possible. It was suggesting that it could respond only after the health authority’s prosecutors finalize their inspection and investigation into the allegations that herbal products sold under the promise that they contained Cynanchum wilfordii actually used the harmful Chynanchum auriculatum extract.

Consumers cannot tolerate such a negligent response from TV home shopping channels, which have earned 270 billion won ($247.8 million) off the product. Lotte Home Shopping has been found guilty of being corrupt, from the top executives down to the common employees, and routinely pocketing money from suppliers. In addition, it has the audacity to thumb its nose at consumers. They would have acted differently if their on-air business license were threatened. We are sick and tired of the TV home shopping networks’ dirty business ways. The legislature should act instead of talking tough. It must probe the matter and force the companies to compensate consumers.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 9, Page 30

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