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Bringing Life to Consumer Protection Law (Updated : 29/12/2011)

On July 1, the consumer protection law officially took effect, however, it will take time for this law to come into life, and for consumer Vietnam to be protected in accordance with eight published rights. There are many agencies whose job is to protect consumers, but in fact, there is still much consumer’s right violation. Vietnam Business Forum would like to quote experts’ comments on consumer protection.

There should be a link between management agencies, distributors and manufacturers

Mr Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy Chief of Competition Administration Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade) 

The number of violations of the consumers’ rights grasped by the Competition Management Department is "inconsiderable" than reality, because people rarely complain to the authorised agencies such as Competition Administration Department, Association for Protecting Consumers’ Rights, or Market Management, economic policemen, or inspectors of the Ministry of Science and Technology. So, Consumer Protection Law taking effect from July 01 demands enterprises to improve the quality of services and commodities to the consumers’ hands. Therefore, production enterprises and distributors need to link closely to ensure the consumers’ rights to cut down the false and counterfeit products, causing damage to consumers. During the first implementation of consumer protection law, the management agencies will focus on monitoring modern retail channels such as supermarkets and hypermarkets by tight control of input sources. The Department is working with authorities to carry out realistic activities to protect consumers’ rights in which there is the use of effective state management tools.
Many new provisions in the Consumer Protection Law

MrNguyenVan Thanh-Deputy Head ofConsumerProtection Board (Competition AdministrationDepartment, MoIT)

Law on Protection of consumers’ rights has been valid from July 01 to adjust the most basic and general issues. This law along with some other relevant documents such as Commercial Law (2005), Competition Law (2004), Products and Goods Quality Law (2007), the Law on standards and technical Standards (2006), Food Safety Law 2010, and the Advertisement Ordinance 2001.
Law on Protection ofconsumerrightshas manynewprovisions onliabilityof third partiesin providinginformation, warranty liability; withdrawal ofgoods, liability to pay for damage caused byadefectgoods.
This law alsodefinedthe role ofstate managementagenciesto protect the rightsof consumerslike the right to start a civil lawsuitbysocial organizationsparticipating in protectingconsumer's rights; Settlementofconsumers’disputesbyarbitration;provisionsof theshortenedprocedurein courtto resolveconsumers’disputes; treatmentmeasurementson a publiclistfororganizations andindividuals that violatethe consumers’ rights.
Don’t call for "wise" consumers but actively protect consumers Mr Vu Vinh Phu - Chairman of Hanoi Supermarket Association Supermarket Association said: do not use the word "wise consumer," but it is important that businesses, the state management agencies must be active to protect consumers.

Protecting consumers’ rights is not only running a business with quality goods and reasonable prices, but also building a staff with highly professional quality and good ethics to serve customers. Building the confidence of consumers is protecting trademarks of supermarkets who want to run business well and to develop sustainably.
I would suggest that the State needs to quickly approve the development plans of national distribution system, including network planning and supermarket development planning to create the basis for investment and development of civilised retail trade nationwide. The State should pay special attention to investment in production and reduction in the nonsense penetration of imported goods on domestic markets contributing to the implementation of the guideline that Vietnamese people give the priority to the consumption of Vietnamese products and protecting the rights of consumers.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued Decision 1371/BTM on standards of supermarkets and commercial centers, but this Decision has not been fully implemented. The reason for this is that now although there are many supermarkets hanging signboards but non-standard ones still exist to do damage or to make confused to consumers, and to cause difficulty for the state management activities in the area of Department of Industry and Trade of the provinces and cities. We propose the need for a overall census, review and correct operation of supermarkets in each locality to protect the standard supermarkets with serious business activities. We do not accept the existence of supermarkets not qualified. The ultimate goal is to protect the legitimate rights of the social consumers.
Besides, theauthoritiesshoulddo well thecontrol of the marketto prevent speculation andsmuggling, trade fraud, manufacturingandtrading in counterfeit goodsand tax evasion onthe market whichis happeningverycomplexly"Boundary between genuinetradersandprofiteers is veryfragile."
Quality commitment
Mr Nguyen Thai Dung – Deputy General Director of Big C Supercentre
Recently, Big C has developed a number of private label, called "Big C", "WOW" for the purpose of enriching goods and increasing choice for customers when shopping at Big C. Consumers, therefore, will have more choice when shopping and be able to buy goods with good quality and lower prices from 10-30 per cent compared to the same products on the market. That will help consumers do their financial savings and lead to an increase in purchasing power.
To put this model into practice, Big C needs to select the manufacturing enterprises that meet the demand of quality standards and food safety in accordance with the provisions of the state. Also, these enterprises are required to have good production system for stable quality because quality is the key leading factor that Big C has always headed toward. Then Big C with the producers build up the plans for goods supply; such as defining the standards of design, quantity, delivery schedule and terms of trade.
To ensure suppliers maintain the conditions of production as promised, Big C rents an independent international accreditation agency (Interteck, SGS) to do the annual review and conduct irregular inspections to ensure that quality is guaranteed.
With the criteria for selecting partners to produce private label above, Big C can only come to work with businesses who meet simultaneously the requirements such as commitments for quality assurance, stable production capacity and reasonable price.
Implementing the Government resolution No 11, the direction of the City People's Committee and the Department of Trade and Industry in Hanoi on measures to curb inflation, stabilize prices and ensure social security, Big C has several plans and specific actions to minimize the price adjustment and protect the purchasing power of consumers.

Huong Ly

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