VietNamNet Bridge – Though there’s a boom of online transactions, Vietnamese law doesn’t address responsibility for failures of the transactions management programs that businesses employ. That leads to some ugly disputes, reports Saigon Tiep thi.
Item: On the morning of October 26, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Nhi, a gold investor at the VTG gold trading floor, placed 33 purchase orders online and received a notice that the orders were matched. Remarkably, the orders were in fact invalid and ought have been refused. However, by her ‘successful transaction,’ Nhi, who risked only 39 million dong of capital, earned 1.7 billion dong.
The gold trading floor later found the error. It asked Nhi to accept refund of her capital only and to wait while the gold trading floor tried find what caused the abnormal transactions.
Item: At 11 pm on November 27, Hung in Vinh Long province and some other clients ordered laptops via the Internet from The Gioi Di Dong, a large distributor. The distributor’s network confirmed the purchase.
According to The Gioi Di Dong database, from 01:13 to 06:11 on November 28, the database of the online sale website recorded 35 purchase orders – all priced at zero dong per unit. After discovering these transactions, The Gioi Di Dong hurried to contact the 35 clients to apologise, saying that it was a ‘system error.’
Tran Nhat Linh, a senior officer of The Gioi Di Dong, said that after discovering the network’s problems, the retailer offered a 50 percent discount on each of the 35 laptops. However, the offer has not been accepted by the clients
Meanwhile, back at VTG, the officer in charge of managing transactions says that while they are investigating the cause of the error, the gold trading floor has proposed a ‘friendly payment’ equal to 21 percent of the amount that was recorded in the client’s favor.
VTG’s lawyer, Nguyen Manh Nam, confirmed that the gold trading floor has asked the police to help clarify the problem. Another lawyer consulted by VTG, Dao Duy Cuong of the Anh Dao Law firm, stressed that the company will compensate clients for any irregular losses in accordance with the law.
Sources say that the software for the gold trading floor was provided by a company which has also done electronic transactions management work for the State Bank of Vietnam.
Legal regulations remain unclear
Vu Minh Tri, General Director of Yahoo Vietnam, says that system errors are a normal business risk in online trading. No one, he said, can plead that “the computer did it” to refuse responsibility. Lawyer Le Net agrees. “It’s assumed that the person who set up the system has the tools to control it,” he says.
“Clients should be cautioned in advance about troubles that may occur, so that they can make an informed decision,” adds Tri, adding that the quality of [an online enterprise’s] network is a measure of its stature.
Vo Do Thang at Athena Network Security confirmed that a lot of disputes have been arisen recently. However, the current E-commerce Law still does not address network safety. The law only mentions force majeure problems, such as fire, war or natural calamities. In these cases, the systems’ owners will be exempted from responsibility. In other cases, liability depends on what’s agreed between the service providers and their clients
This means that in many cases the ‘hole’ in the legal framework and vague provisions in the contracts signed between the two parties make it very difficult to settle disputes.
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