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Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection

The Korea Consumer Agency is a government organization established in 1987 in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act in order to effectively implement Korean consumer protection policies. The agency performs such tasks as 1) conducting research on policies and systems related to consumer rights; 2) investigating consumer-related matters; 3) collecting information on consumer protection; 4) providing education and information on consumer protection; and 5) resolving matters related to consumer safety and damages.

The Korea Consumer Agency is a member of the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) and the International Consumer Product Safety Caucus. The agency strives to resolve international consumer disputes in order to vitalize consumer trade among countries and to improve consumer trust.

Resolution of Consumer Damage
"Consumer damage" refers to damage caused to a consumer's life, body, property or mental state by flawed or defective products or by a breach of contract or an illegal act on the part of a business during the use of a product or service purchased from that business.

When consumer damage occurs, consumers are advised to attempt first of all to resolve disputes through negotiation with the business in question. If a dispute cannot be settled, consumers can seek mediation from the Korean Consumer Agency or a non-governmental consumer organization. It can be too troublesome for consumers to sue the business through the small claims court. Thus, before filing a lawsuit, it is advisable to resort to the help of a consumer protection organization. Regarding consumer disputes, consumer groups and the Korea Consumer Agency resolve disputes objectively and fairly from a third-party perspective. Resolution procedures include such steps as Consumer Counseling, Consumer Redress, and Dispute Resolution.

1372 Consumer Counseling Center
When consumer damage occurs because of improper behavior on the part of a business, consumers can seek help from the 1372 Consumer Counseling Center operated by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (Tel: 1372).

The counseling services provided by the center are public services jointly participated in by consumer protection organizations, local consumer centers, and the Korea Consumer Agency. The center provides information about the legal rights of consumers and the actions that can be taken to receive compensation for consumer damage caused during the use of services, products, medicine, finance and insurance, and automobiles.

Counselling in English
When English-speaking counseling is needed, consumers can call the International Cooperation Team of the Korean Consumer Agency (Tel: 02-3460-3443) or visit the agency in person for counseling (see address in Seoul below. To receive counseling over the Internet, visit the agency's website and upload your comments (in English) after going through the proper verification procedure.  (Note that the agency website is Korean only and that at the time of this posting, it is necessary to use Internet Explorer and to download ActiveX to use the service online). The best option for foreign nationals living outside Seoul to contact the agency via the post. 
Korea Consumer Agency address:  International Cooperation Team, 5th Floor of the Korea Consumer Agency, 108, Yangjaedae-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul. · Tel : 3460-3443 / Fax : 575-7055

Consumer Redress
Civil disputes can be resolved through lawsuits, but they can generally be resolved faster and more conveniently if one uses the Korea Consumer Agency or other consumer organizations. If a business rejects a consumer's due demands, the agency can get involved in a consumer damage case upon the consumer's request.

To request consumer redress, consumers should complete a consumer redress application form and attach the related documents: receipts or contracts that can prove a contract or an agreement; a product repair certificate that can prove consumer damage; a document requesting the cancellation of a contract or an agreement. The agency will review the case fairly and judge the liability of the business in accordance with Korean law. If the business is liable for the damage, the agency will recommend that the business pay compensation to the consumer. Most cases are normally resolved within one month.

Dispute Resolution
If a dispute cannot be resolved by the Consumer Redress procedure, the consumer can request mediation by the Consumer Dispute Settlement Commission (CDSC). The CDSC was established within the Korean Consumer Agency and has quasi-judicial power, so consumers do not need to obtain a separate judgment from the court. If both parties accept the decision made by the CDSC, it has the same judicial effects.

K4E Note: The above information was provided by KOTRA - Invest Korea (ICC 1600-7119). No one on the K4E team has had any experience with the agency and would appreciate it if you have had to let us know about your experience. Contact us at

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Last Updated on 2017-10-10

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