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Shinjuku City Official Website > Foreign Language Top Page > Living > Watch Out for Dirty Business Practices and Consumer Problems

Watch Out for Dirty Business Practices and Consumer Problems

Business practices are becoming dirtier and more complicated every year, causing serious damage in various aspects of everyday living. Once a contract is finalized, for example, it is difficult to cancel, and in most cases any money already paid cannot be recovered. It is a good idea to learn how to handle serious problems that can suddenly threaten the safety of everyday life.
To avoid becoming a victim of these practices, it is important to firmly decline suspicious and improper business offers. If you do become a victim of these practices, do not worry about it all by yourself or give up. Instead, please consult the Shinjuku Consumer Life Center as soon as possible.

Note: Inquiries and consultations are handled in Japanese.

Inquiries: Shinjuku Consumer Life Center (Shinjuku City Office Annex 2, 3F, 5-18-21 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku)
Tel: 03-5273-3830
Fax: 03-5273-3110

Beware of These Tricks

1. You may be offered a chance to make money

Beware of tempting words such as “You are sure to make a profit in the future”; “You’ll make a quick profit”; “Since you’ve won prize money, please send a registration fee”; “These are corporate bonds that only you can buy. I’ll buy them from you later, so please buy them for me now.” Almost all of these invitations to make money are fraudulent. Even you receive a very tempting offer, it is best to avoid agreeing to any of these deals.

2. They may offer a free inspection of your home and then approach you with various expensive contracts for repairs

Fraudulent businesses may offer a free inspection of your fire extinguisher, drain or some other part of your home. Afterward, they present a contract to purchase or rent a fire extinguisher, or for expensive sewerage repairs or construction. Even if they use expressions that worry you—such as “It’s dangerous unless you change this quickly,” “It’s dangerous if you leave this as it is,” or explanations such as, “I’ll give you a special discount” or “I’m contracted by a public institution”—do not finalize a contract on the spot. Deal with the matter carefully by talking things over with your family, friends and a different company you can trust before agreeing to anything.

3. Fraudulent bills sent via the Internet

The following examples of malicious business practices involving the Internet occur often:

  1. You receive an e-mail bill on your mobile phone for a website you’ve never used.
  2. While you’re on your computer, an adult website suddenly appears, and if you click on “18 years of age or older” a message that says “Registration complete” pops up, and an expensive bill appears on the screen that cannot be deleted.
  3. Purchasing a product through the Internet that is never delivered, or being sold a counterfeit product.
  4. You change your service provider contract by remote control, but the rates became more expensive rather than becoming cheaper as advertised. When you tried to cancel the contract, you’re told there is a cancellation fee.

Ignore bills for fees you know nothing about. If what the bill says worries you, and you call the contact number on the bill, you may give away personal information, and the demands may escalate as a result. Always keep in mind the rules, information and countermeasures for enjoying the use of the Internet safely, and make sure your online security is effective.

4. Sending unwanted products, sequential sales, door-to-door sales (pushy sales tactics)

Malicious business practices cause a major problem, such as sending products that you haven’t ordered to your home on a cash-on-delivery basis; selling large amounts of bedding one after another; and offering to buy items you no longer need, making you bring out precious metals and gems, and buying them from you at a low price.

Even if these people try to persuade you with skillful words, act aggressively or tell stories that draw your sympathy, firmly decline items you do not need. If you know of anyone who is worrying alone about such things, we hope that you and others in the neighborhood will support that person with warm consideration and protect them.

◎ Keys to avoid becoming a victim of dirty business practices:

  • Do not be tempted by moneymaking prospects.
  • Even if you receive an urgent offer, do not rush into any deals or adjust your decision-making pace to that of the salesperson.
  • Do not be swept away by the emotions of the salesperson.
  • Firmly decline a deal if you feel even a little uncomfortable, or if you do not need the item.
  • Do not give away your personal information.
  • Think calmly and carefully before you finalize any contract. In some cases, contracts are finalized even if you just agree orally.
  • Do not pay money on the spot. Do not pay money into an account designated by the salesperson.
  • If you do not know what to do, ask your family or friends what they think, or consult the Shinjuku Consumer Life Center.

◎ If you want to cancel a contract, you can use the cooling-off system

The cooling-off system allows consumers to cancel contracts made by door-to-door sales or telephone sales unconditionally within a legally designated period. The salesperson will be notified by special registered mail or simple registered mail with a document (be sure to keep a copy). In the case of a credit contract, the credit company and the sales company will be notified at the same time.
For more information on the cooling-off system—such as the types of business transactions that is applies to, the time period for cooling off, and procedures for notifying the salesperson—please ask the Shinjuku Consumer Life Center.

The Shinjuku Consumer Life Center Can Help You Solve Your Problems

The Shinjuku Consumer Life Center offers various consultation services related to consumer life for people who live, work or go to school in Shinjuku City. Please note, however, that these consultation services are not available for businesses (including individually owned businesses) or for interpersonal negotiations. In addition, the Center publishes an information magazine called Kurashi no Joho (Information for Living), conducts various classes related to consumer life, and rents out books and DVDs.

Consumer Life Consultation (telephone or in person) Special Consultation for Multiple Debts (in person; on a reservation basis)
Date and time Monday through Friday (except on national holidays and during the yearend/New Year holidays)
Telephone consultation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Consultation in person: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fourth Tuesdays of the month (fifth Tuesdays if it is a national holiday), 1 to 4 p.m.
Location Shinjuku City Office Annex 2, 3F
Shinjuku Consumer Life Center
Program A consumer life consultant will offer advice and information for solving your problems with malicious business practices and difficulties in canceling contracts.
Note: Consultations with a lawyer are possible only on Wednesdays (in person; on a reservation basis).
A lawyer or city office staff member will help you organize your debts and offer advice for after you have settled your debts that suits your individual situation.
Note: Please call the Shinjuku Consumer Life Center first to make a reservation.

Various Classes Related to Consumer Life

The city holds consumer classes and visiting lecture classes that will help you lead safer, more peaceful lives by informing you about problems related to consumer life and how to deal with them.

●Consumer Classes
Classes on diverse themes are cosponsored by consumer groups and companies in the city. Information on these classes is announced in “Koho Shinjuku (Shinjuku City News)” and the Shinjuku City website.

●Visiting Classes
A consumer life consultant is dispatched as a lecturer to workplaces, schools and community study groups to explain how to prevent consumer problems.

Multilingual Leaflet “Watch Out for Consumer Problems!” Now Available (in English, Chinese, Korean, Nepali, Myanmar; * Together with Japanese)

This leaflet is available in the waiting room of Shinjuku City Office Main Building 1F, Shinjuku Foreign Resident Advisory Corner, and at Shinjuku Multicultural Plaza. Please pick up a copy.

PDF: Watch Out for Consumer Problems!