Experts point out shortcomings in protecting consumers’ rights

10:32 | 13/03/2015 Society

The absence of procedures allowing consumer protection organisations to act on behalf of their members is damaging the legitimate interests of Vietnamese customers, participants at a workshop have heard.

Experts point out shortcomings in protecting consumers’ rights

Experts provided their insight into this shortcoming at a meeting titled ‘Vietnamese consumers’ rights: Issues and Solutions’, which was held by the People’s Participation Working Group (PPWG), the Institute of Social, Economic and Environmental Research (iSEE), and the Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association (Vinastas) in Hanoi on March 12. 

According to an online survey of 1,200 people published by iSEE, up to 46 percent of respondents said they had bought goods of low quality, 40 percent bought goods without a clear origin and over 30% bought expired or counterfeit goods. 

Only a few people complained, however, as they felt discouraged by the time-consuming and often fruitless complaints process. Many admitted to feeling felt alone in the battle to protect their interests. 

Le Quang Binh, head of the PPWG, said Vietnam had implemented a consumer protection law but had failed to enforce it sufficiently. He said the agency in charge must provide full information on consumers’ rights and interests and the mechanisms open to them for protection. 

They also need to streamline procedures and allow consumers to stand together to protect their legitimate rights, he added. 

Sharing Binh’s view, Pham Manh Hung, Vice President of Vinastas, advised consumers to stand together to gather more strength in the battle to protect their rights and interests. 

Hung said his association annually receives around 1,000 complaints from consumers, but said the number only reflects a small fraction of disgruntled customers. 

According to Pham Que Anh, Director of the Consumer Unity & Trust Society, the Government should allow consumer associations to act on behalf of their members in making complaints. 

Compensation should not only go back into the State budget, as happens now, but should be returned to consumers via protection activities organised by their representative groups, Anh added.

Source VOV News