Consumers were cheated out of an estimated ¥6 trillion in frauds and other dubious practices in 2013, an amount equivalent to 1.2 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product, according to a recent a Consumer Affairs Agency survey.
An estimated 10.1 million such incidents occurred last year, and the average amount of damage came to ¥590,000 per case, according to the agency.
It is the first time the agency has compiled the data. It plans to conduct the survey annually from now on.
The total included cases that were not blatantly fraudulent but still made consumers feel they may have been cheated. Cited were instances when consumers said the quality of products or services they purchased was not as high as expected while others said they were charged bigger fees than anticipated.
Also included were investment frauds including fictitious sales of unlisted stocks, and troubles related to home purchases and renovations.
The agency’s damage estimates were based on a survey of 10,000 people aged 15 or above and consultations with consumer centers nationwide in January and February.