The number of consumer complaints about online transactions increased by 2.6 times over the last four years, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said on Sunday.
According to a study of the number of complaints received, the figure rose from 7,236 in 2006 to 18,914 in 2010. The city's customer service center dealt with a total of 67,895 cases involving transactions worth W13.8 billion (US$1=W1,086).
The largest number of complaints were about clothes shopping with 20,094 cases or 29.6 percent, followed by fashion accessories such as bags and shoes (29.3 percent) and home appliances including cameras and mobile phones (8.3 percent).
Most of the cases were related to the seller's refusal of a refund or exchange, which accounted for 22,522 cases or 33.2 percent, and closure of the website with 12,921 or 19 percent, followed by delivery delays (13.7 percent) and defective goods (7.2 percent).
More than half of the complaints involved goods under W100,000, with under W50,000 accounting for 36.6 percent and from W50,000 to W100,000 25.7 percent. The average amount in disputes, however, went down by 45 percent from W283,000 in 2006 to W154,000 in 2010.
"We have uploaded a list of companies that are frequently subject to complaints at our website at ecc.seoul.go.kr," a city government official said. "Online retailers deemed to be defrauding customers are investigated by the city in cooperation with the National Police Agency."