Under section 7M of the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap 106), telecommunications licensees are prohibited from engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct in providing telecommunications services. The Communications Authority has the powers to investigate and adjudicate section 7M cases. There is no similar provision in the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap 562).
The Legislative Council enacted the Trade Descriptions (Unfair Trade Practices) (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (“Amendment Ordinance”) on 17 July 2012 to extend the coverage of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap 362) to include trade descriptions in respect of services and create new offences of false trade descriptions of services, misleading omissions, aggressive practices, bait advertising, bait-and-switch, and the practice of wrongly accepting payment. The Customs and Excise Department is tasked to enforce the new offences, and concurrent jurisdiction is conferred on the Communications Authority in respect of broadcasting and telecommunications services. The Commissioner of Customs and Excise and the Communications Authority have jointly issued a set of Enforcement Guidelines to provide guidance for traders and consumers as to the operation of the fair trading sections under the Amendment Ordinance. The Amendment Ordinance has come into effect on 19 July 2013 and section 7M of the Telecommunications Ordinance was thereby repealed, subject to transitional arrangements.