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Shop with QTS-accredited merchants
You can trust shops displaying the QTS sign because they must pass stringent annual quality assessments showing that they:
- Provide clearly displayed prices;
- Display clear product Information; and
- Ensure superb customer service.
The Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme is organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, which also provides assistance for enquiries about purchases from shops accredited by the QTS Scheme. Find a list of QTS-accredited retail shops here.
Do some comparison shopping before you buy. Prices are usually clearly marked, particularly in shopping malls, department stores and chain stores. However, some small shops and street markets do not always display prices. Confirm unit price before purchase. In this case, bargaining is still possible.
Environmental Levy Scheme on plastic shopping bags
To reduce the use of plastic shopping bags; chain and large supermarkets, convenience stores, and personal health and beauty product stores are required to charge $0.50 for each plastic shopping bag provided to customers. Avoid the levy and be environmentally responsible by bringing your own bag. Here you can find more details about the environmental levy scheme.
Know your products
Research what you need to in terms of models, features, prices, accessories and the warranty (including its geographical coverage). Call the Consumer Council Hotline on +852 2929 2222 for the names of sole agents of popular brands.
To enhance consumer protection while shopping, amendments have been made to the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. The amendments to the law are aimed at improving sales practices in the retail business, including:
- Making false representations regarding after-sale services and warranties for goods;
- Misleading price indication;
- Prices for five major types of electronic products (digital audio players, digital camcorders, digital cameras, mobile phones and portable multimedia players) must indicate the basic accessories that are not included; and
- False or misleading representation regarding connection with and endorsement by another person.
Details of these new provisions are available on the Customs website.
Beware of parallel imports
Parallel imports are items brought into Hong Kong by someone other than the official import agent. The reason parallel imports are usually cheaper is because they often offer a restricted guarantee or limited after-sale service.
Beware of bait-and-switch tactics
This is when unscrupulous retailers showcase a product at an ambiguous price, but after receiving a deposit, claim the item is out of stock. They will then try to sell an often inferior item at an inflated price. Always look for clearly marked prices, shop around before you buy, know the product you want to buy, check for the included accessories and never allow yourself to be rushed into buying something else. Better still, shop where you see the QTS sign.
Beware of touts (street traders)
Be cautious if you’re approached by sales staff on the street. Don't buy from street touts, nor follow them into any warehouses or showrooms.
Inspect your products
Check the product before paying and make sure you have all the accessories that should be included.
Do not purchase pirated or fake goods
For your own good, please do not purchase pirated or counterfeit goods. Hong Kong Customs is the enforcement agency responsible for intellectual property rights protection. For any enquiries, please call the Customs 24-hour hotline on +852 2815 7711.
Check your receipts
Check your receipts and ensure that all details and verbal agreements are fully listed.
Credit card payment
Most Hong Kong shops accept credit cards. Check the credit card slip before signing it and remember to take your receipt. Credit card companies and/or banks issuing the cards may charge a currency exchange fee on overseas purchases. Please check with your credit card issuer for further details.
Advice when purchasing gold, jewellery and watches
- Only buy from reputable shops and ask for a proper receipt stating your purchase details.
- By law, gold and platinum jewellery must be stamped with a purity hallmark.
- There are four ‘Cs’ to consider when buying diamonds: carat, clarity, cut and colour. Ask for a laboratory report for guidance and insurance purposes.
- When shopping for pearls, check the origin, lustre, size and brilliance.
- When shopping for jade, check the type, quality and origin of the stone.
In general, jade jewellery can be classified into 3 types:
Type A jade refers to natural Fei Cui (Jadeite Jade) which has not been subjected to any form of chemical treatment. This jade is usually polished with colourless wax; however, its crystalline structure will not be damaged.
Type B jade refers to Fei Cui (Jadeite Jade) which is chemically treated and resin-impregnated to improve its lustre, resulting in its crystalline structure being damaged.
Type C jade refers to Fei Cui (Jadeite Jade) which is dyed to improve its colour.
- Useful contact numbers:
The Hong Kong Jewellers' and Goldsmiths' Association: +852 2543 9633
The Diamond Federation of Hong Kong (for information about diamonds): +852 2524 5081
The Gemmological Association of Hong Kong (for a list of gem-testing laboratories): +852 2366 6006
The Hong Kong Accreditation Service (for accredited testing organizations for Fei Cui (Jadeite Jade) and diamonds): www.hkas.gov.hk; +852 2829 4840
Always keep your receipts, because if a problem arises with one of your purchases, you will be thankful you did so. Visitors can contact the following organisations for assistance:
Refund Protection Scheme (Registered Shops) for Inbound Tour Group Shoppers
Group visitors who patronise a registered shop arranged by Travel Industry Council (TIC) members are entitled to full refund protection if they are dissatisfied with their purchases. The purchased item(s) shall be undamaged and there shall be no wear and tear because of its use. To apply for a refund, visitors may contact their tour organisers or receiving agents. For more details about refund protection, please visit the TIC’s website or phone them on +852 2807 0707 (available 9am to midnight, daily). During non-office hours, leave a message at the above hotline number and the TIC will contact you on the next working day.
The Consumer Council is committed to enhancing consumer welfare and empowering consumers to protect themselves. For more Information about consumer rights protection and consumer alerts, please visit the Consumer Council’s website or contact them on +852 2929 2222 (available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm). During non-office hours, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, leave a message at the above hotline number and the Consumer Council will contact you on the next working day.
Piracy, counterfeit products or other complaints about violations of the Trade Descript Ordinance
Customs and Excise Department Hotline: +852 2545 6182 (24 hours).
Hong Kong Police: 999 (24 hours).