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2021-12-02 09:37:48

A few months after authorities accused Canada Goose of misleading consumers with inferior duck down, the luxury parka maker is back on the public chopping block over refusing to take returns in a possible violation of Chinese consumer protection law.

The company’s troubles started when a Shanghai woman surnamed Jia spent 11,400 yuan ($1,790) on a down jacket at a Shanghai store Oct. 27. When she looked at her purchase again, she says, she realized that the logo was embroidered incorrectly, the stitching was shoddy — and the jacket smelled bad. She took it back to the store the next day, where a manager told her that the company does not accept returns at retail stores in Chinese mainland. She’d accepted the policy when she bought the jacket, he said.

China’s Consumer Protection Law gives buyers the right to return or exchange goods for seven days. You Yunting, a lawyer at Shanghai DeBund Law Office, told domestic media that companies are not allowed to ask customers to waive this right as a condition of purchase.

Jia took her case to the press, and on Monday, Shanghai media ran stories about the harsh returns policy. Canada Goose customer service told domestic media that the non-refund policy applied to all the retail stores in China.

“This ‘Canada Goose’ will only have its feathers left on the ground. Why does it treat Chinese consumers like this,” a user on microblogging service Weibo user wrote.

The company denied that it has a no-refund policy in a Weibo post Wednesday morning, indicating that its return policy is in line with Chinese laws and “all products sold in stores in mainland China can be returned and refunded when subject to relevant laws and regulations.”

Meanwhile, Canada Goose states on its official global website that it accepts returns within 30 days.

On Wednesday afternoon, the company was queried by Shanghai Consumer Protection Committee. The Committee told the state-run Xinhua News Agency that Canada Goose treats the Chinese market differently from the global market, and ordered the company to give a formal explanation of its exchange policy before noon Thursday.

As of the end of Thursday, there was no official update from the company. Sixth Tone’s repeated attempts to reach the company were unsuccessful.

It’s the brand’s second consumer protection scandal this year.

In June, Shanghai’s market regulator fined the retailer’s local unit 450,000 yuan ($71,000) for violating Chinese advertisement laws. Canada Goose’s store on e-commerce platform Tmall claimed that “all our products contain the warmest material from Hutterite,” referring to communities that produce some of the world’s most luxurious goose down. However, regulators claimed that laboratory tests revealed that most of its products are actually made with cheaper duck down and did not contain goose. The company later told Canadian media that the claim was made in error as the result of “misalignment of text.”

As of writing, Canada Goose’s international website states that “Our down blends all contain Canadian Hutterite down, which is among the highest quality Canadian down available, enabling us to manufacture lighter jackets without sacrificing warmth.”

Editor: David Cohen.

(Header image: People Visual)