Taiwanâs Fair Trade Commission Fines Ecommerce Platforms for âBait-and-switchâ Misconduct
On April 12, 2022, Taiwanâs Fair Trade Commission (the âTFTCâ) fined e-commerce platform companies, Kubobrothers Corp. (âKubobrothersâ) and Mobix Corp. (âMobixâ), for unfair conduct pursuant to Article 25 of Taiwanâs Fair Trade Act (the âTFTAâ).
Kubobrothers and Mobix had used âsearch engine optimizationâ (SEO) by paying for keyword searches for products that they did not actually sell. So, when customers searched for certain products, they would see search results for those products and be directed to the Kubobrothres and Mobix sites but may then be offered alternate products to purchase. This conduct would not only increase the traffic directed to their platforms, despite not carrying the products being sought by those customers, but would also entice arriving users to purchase alternative products offered by their sites, which would mean that the original brands being sought would lose out on being purchased. The TFTC ruled that such âbait-and-switchâ conduct had not only harmed the interests of consumers but could serve as a model that other platforms may emulate. Therefore, the TFTC imposed a fine of NT$ 2 million (approximately US$ 69,000) upon Kubobrothers and NT$ 800,000 (approximately US$ 27,600) upon Mobix.
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