Enhance the ability to protect consumer rights

VCN - To protect consumers, the Law on Consumer Rights Protection 2023, effective from July 1, 2024, has expanded the scope to include foreign businesses providing products and services to consumers in Vietnam. At the same time, there are many new regulations related to the protection of consumer information, responsibility for providing information, product recall, etc.
Consumers are increasingly interested in product origin and quality. Illustration photo: TTXVN
Consumers are increasingly interested in product origin and quality. Illustration photo: TTXVN

It is difficult to identify both the buyer and the seller

Speaking at the Information Support Workshop for businesses "Some updates on the Law on Consumer Rights Protection 2023 in the context of digital transformation and e-commerce", Mr. Nguyen Duc Trung, Deputy Director of the Business Development Department, the Ministry of Planning and Investment said that capturing and updating information for businesses is extremely important, that is why the Ministry of Planning and Investment has built the Business Information Portal to become a digital ecosystem to support businesses, focusing on the goal of helping businesses access new global trends such as responsible business, digital transformation, application of 4.0 technology, etc, as well as providing the platform to help businesses connect with each other. Furthermore, connecting businesses with a network of professional consultants is also promoted.

In recent times, the rapid development of information technology has changed the way of commercial transactions. Nowadays, transactions can take place quickly over the Internet, on the seller's website or on a third-party platform. Cross-border transactions also become easier. But besides the conveniences, new forms of transactions also carry many potential risks.

More specific analysis of opportunities and challenges for consumers when participating in e-commerce and cross-border trade, Ms. Pham Que Anh, an expert at the German International Cooperation Organization GIZ shared, in fact, traditional trade transactions are limited to taking place in stores, markets, supermarkets or at consumers' homes. Therefore, when e-commerce boomed, it created opportunities for consumers to have more choices, including better goods and products, more competitive prices, because the boundaries of the market are widened.

E-commerce is more convenient and effective without needing a specific location or time; send and receive responses to questions and complaints immediately; personalized shopping and consumption experience, with accurate suggestions from the seller, etc. Endless source of information, allowing consumers to compare between different options and suppliers, transaction costs are reduced.

However, according to GIZ experts, in the context of digital transformation and cross-border e-commerce, transactions take place over the internet, on the seller's website or on third-party platforms, consumers cannot check the quality of the goods, so they must rely on collecting information from previous research, or reviews from other buyers. Payment via the internet for goods sent to the consumer, often via a third party or cash on delivery (COD). Therefore, consumers also face many risks when choosing and paying for goods.

“The challenge facing consumers when e-commerce and cross-border trade become popular is the risk of difficulty identifying both the buyer and seller, difficulty determining relevant regulations or countries, authority with jurisdiction; privacy and cyber security. Not only consumers, businesses can also get into trouble, be entangled in lawsuits or legal disputes related to consumer rights in Vietnam as well as in other countries where products are consumed. ", Ms. Pham Que Anh emphasized.

Promote measures to protect consumer rights

To promote the protection of consumer rights in the context of digital transformation and e-commerce, many international commitments have been developed. In the region, the ASEAN Consumer Protection Strategic Action Plan for the period 2016 - 2025 has been approved by member countries. In 2023, ASEAN will also launch the Guidelines for Consumer Protection in e-commerce. Ms. Sita Zimpel, Director of the ASEAN SME Project, German International Cooperation Organization GIZ, emphasized that the above efforts are very important in changing awareness about consumer protection, aiming to harmonize regulations between countries in the region and thereby promote sustainable trade.

To harmonize with international commitments and resolve new issues arising in the context of strong digital transformation, the Law on Consumer Rights Protection 2023 has been passed by the National Assembly of Vietnam and officially comes into effectiveness from July 1, 2024.

According to Mr. Ho Tung Bach, Deputy Head, Consumer Protection Department, National Competition Commission, the Law on Consumer Rights Protection 2023 has expanded its scope to include foreign businesses providing products and services for consumers in Vietnam. In addition, the Law on Consumer Rights Protection 2023 also has many new regulations related to protecting consumer information, vulnerable consumers, providing digital platform services, continuous services, responsibility for providing information, and recalling products. Regulations on 7 specific groups of subjects, including the elderly, women, and children, that are given priority for protection.

In addition, Mr. Pham Van Hung, representative of the Legal Department, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) also emphasized the importance of publicizing and providing information about products. According to the Law on Consumer Rights Protection 2023, product information transparency is not only a mandatory requirement but also a key factor to help consumers make wise shopping decisions. Detailed information about origin, ingredients, instructions for use and warranty policy will help consumers feel more secure when shopping online, while enhancing the reputation of businesses in the market. These measures not only protect consumer rights, but also bring long-term benefits to businesses.

By Xuân Thảo/Phuong Linh

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