The Hanoitimes - The consumers themselves can protect their rights better than any other people or agencies.
Although the Law on Consumer Protection will take effect on July 1, there are still concerns about the businesses’ compliance.
Violation cases increase
Do Gia Phan, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Standard and Consumer Protection Association, said as the concepts of consumer and consumer protection are new in Vietnam, they have not received adequate attention from managing agencies.
Even consumers themselves are not fully aware of how to use their power to protect their rights, he said.
The Vietnam Standard and Consumer Protection Association receives an average number of 1,000 complaints every year and 80 percent of them are reconciled. It means that addressing issues related to consumer rights is dependent on businesses’ willingness. Therefore, consumers usually hesitate to complain to authorities when their rights are violated.
According to a recent survey taken by the Institute of Law Research (ILR) under the Ministry of Justice, 64.9 percent of the people questioned said their losses come from low-quality goods and services.
Meanwhile, another survey by the Vietnam Competition Administration Department and the EU-Vietnam Multilateral Trade Assistance project on violations of consumer rights and the state of consumer protection in Vietnam shows that most of the violations are related to the quality of goods and services, improper labeling, and counterfeit.
An increase in the number of violation cases shows that the State’s policies and measures to protect consumers are not as effective as expected, said ILR director, Prof. Le Hong Hanh.
With a high sense of responsibilities
There has been a positive change in many Vietnamese businesses’ attitude towards consumer protection and they have made efforts to meet consumers’ expectation.
However, the level of Vietnamese businesses’ law compliance is still low in comparison with other countries in the region, said Prof. Hanh.
Do Gia Phan said although many businesses often take advantage of consumers’ lack of knowledge to turn a big profit, many are becoming better aware of consumers’ role and are doing their best to protect their rights.
Since February, there have been promotional and customer care campaigns in Hanoi with the participation of big supermarkets like Pico plaza and Co.op mart which offer free delivery and discount to their customers.
Now, with more and more consumers using their products and services, they all feel more responsible for protecting their rights than before.
Being a wise consumer
Associate Prof. Nguyen Nhu Phat, Director of the Institute of State and Law under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, said in addition to State policies, consumers need to join hands to protect themselves.
Do Gia Phan emphasized the need to help consumers understand their power and access all information necessary so that they can protect their rights to use products and services.
He cited some examples of people who only care about production and expiry dates but overlook other important information about the product especially if it is related to the use of toxic chemicals, as in the case of Trans Fat.
The Vietnam Standard and Consumer Protection Association has also called on State agencies to issue regulations on the management of trans fat and other toxic chemical in the production of food and foodstuff.
It is the best way for consumers to protect their rights by broadening their knowledge.