Canada Goose draws fresh fire in China for return policies

·2 min read
A sign of Canada Goose is pictured outside its store in Beijing's Sanlitun area

By Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh

BEIJING (Reuters) -Canadian winterwear producer Canada Goose Holdings Inc has run into controversy in China due to a dispute over its return policies, with a city consumer watchdog calling it into meetings and other groups accusing it of "bullying" customers.

The latest furore against the premium down jacket maker comes just three months after the winterwear brand was fined for false advertising and as Chinese regulators have become more active protecting consumer rights.

Canada Goose became a hot topic on Chinese social media in recent days over its handling of a case involving a customer who wanted a refund of her purchases amounting to 11,400 yuan ($1,790.17) after finding quality issues.

She said she was told by Canada Goose that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were strictly non-refundable, according to her account which went viral online.

Canada Goose declined to comment on the specific case to Reuters but said that customers were eligible to receive a refund within 14 days, based on Chinese law, if their purchase had issues with materials or craftsmanship,a stance that was also reported by Chinese media.

That, however, has failed to quell criticism of the brand.

"No brand has any privileges in front of consumers," the government-backed China Consumer Association (CCA) said in an opinion piece posted on its website on Thursday morning.

"If you don't do what you say, regard yourself as a big brand, behave arrogantly and in a superior way, adopt discriminatory policies, be condescending and bully customers, you will for sure lose the trust of consumers and be abandoned by the market," the CCA said.

The Shanghai Consumer Council said it had summoned brand representatives on Wednesday for talks to explain its refund policy in China. However it said it was not satisfied by Canada Goose's response and would meet firm officials again next week.

Chinese state-owned broadcaster CCTV called Canada Goose "arrogant" on its WeChat account on Wednesday.

($1 = 6.3681 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill & Simon Cameron-Moore)