Increasing consumer protection responsibility in the electronic environment

VCN - Along with its robust growth, e-commerce has introduced numerous new issues and challenges for economic and social development, including the area of consumer rights protection
Maximise administrative procedures in electronic environment to save time and costs Maximise administrative procedures in electronic environment to save time and costs
Facilitating business transactions in the electronic environment Facilitating business transactions in the electronic environment
Increasing consumer protection responsibility in the electronic environment
Enhancing the responsibility for protecting consumer rights in e-commerce

Identifying specific business models

Over recent years, e-commerce has experienced significant growth, becoming a major trend in global commerce. In Vietnam, e-commerce activities have developed positively, becoming a crucial distribution channel that serves businesses in product sales, meets the population's needs, and contributes to the development of modern financial and payment services. In 2023, the size of Vietnam's retail e-commerce market reached 20.5 billion USD, an increase of approximately 4 billion USD (equivalent to 25%) compared to 2022.

Statistics from the General Department of Taxation indicate that the tax revenue managed by organizations and individuals involved in e-commerce in 2022 was 3.1 million billion VND, with tax payments amounting to 83,000 billion VND; in 2023, the revenue was 3.5 million billion VND, with tax payments totaling 97,000 billion VND.

However, alongside its dynamic development, e-commerce continues to present new challenges and issues for economic and social development, including the area of consumer rights protection.

In this context, on June 20, 2023, the National Assembly passed the Consumer Rights Protection Law, which will take effect from July 1, 2024. Subsequently, the Government issued Decree No. 55/2024/ND-CP detailing certain provisions of the Consumer Rights Protection Law.

According to the National Competition Committee, these two legislative documents have timely introduced many regulations to further enhance the effectiveness of consumer rights protection in the new context.

Specifically, the law added a chapter on the responsibilities of business organizations and individuals towards consumers in specific transactions, which includes a separate provision on the responsibilities of business organizations and individuals towards consumers in online transactions.

Through this regulation, the law has identified business models in the electronic space, including: information systems established by business organizations and individuals, digital platforms, and intermediary digital platforms. From there, new business models that have emerged recently have been defined, named, and provided a legal basis to regulate the activities of these models, such as online ride-hailing platforms and combined content and commerce platforms…

In addition to precisely identifying transaction models, the law also added regulations to classify these models, thereby creating a basis to prescribe additional responsibilities for classified models. Accordingly, the law and its guiding documents have issued regulations related to large digital platforms based on the number of user accounts active on the platform or according to the legal classification criteria for electronic transactions. Identifying these platforms aims to increase the corresponding responsibilities of business organizations and individuals towards models that significantly impact consumers.

Clarifying responsibilities in transactions

Notably, to regulate and manage the activities of transaction models in the electronic space, the law and its guiding documents have accurately determined the entities responsible for protecting consumer rights in online transactions. This timely addresses the issue of unclear delineation of responsibilities among parties involved in online transactions, limiting situations where responsibility is shifted or avoided when disputes arise with consumers, especially in transactions involving multiple parties.

According to the National Competition Committee, for organizations and individuals conducting business in the electronic space, in addition to common responsibilities, the law and its guiding documents have added some specific responsibilities, applicable depending on the type of transaction.

In particular, for organizations that establish and operate intermediate digital platforms, 13 specific responsibilities have been added, including new provisions such as: publicly disclosing contact points for working with government agencies in resolving consumer issues; publicly disclosing operational regulations, which clearly delineate the responsibilities of participating parties; transparency in advertising activities; providing content moderation activity reports and reports on demand from competent state agencies.

For organizations that establish and operate large digital platforms, in addition to the responsibilities of organizations that establish and operate intermediary digital platforms, this entity must undertake 3 specific responsibilities, including: establishing an advertising storage system using algorithms aimed at specific consumers or consumer groups; periodically assessing content moderation activities, the use of algorithm systems, and advertising targeting specific consumers or consumer groups; and periodically assessing the implementation of regulations on handling fake accounts, the use of artificial intelligence, and fully or partially automated solutions.

By Ngoc Linh/Tran Minh

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