|Customers look over goods at Co.op XtraPlus Hypermarket in HCM City. The government has been urged to give more power to the Viet Nam Standards and Consumers Association to help protect consumers' rights. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
Ha NOI (VNS)— While consumers believe they are protected by law, the actual practices of companies do not often follow the legal documents, said Le Thi Thanh Lam, director general of the Sai Gon Food Corporation, at a workshop in the capital city yesterday.
There are no statistics on fraudulent trading in Viet Nam, but many incidents have been well publicised in mass media.
Doan Phuong, president of the Viet Nam Standards and Consumers Association (VINATAS), said his association had worked hard to raise awareness among enterprises on the negative consequences of selling fake and low-quality goods.
"We also launched a campaign to encourage consumers to boycott illegally imported or faked goods," Phuong said. "We ask them to only buy goods with geographical indicators or marked country of origin."
Hoang Van Phai, a consumer from Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi, recalled his experience with fraudulent trading.
"Once I bought 10 boxes of Tam nao khang (a drug prescribed for stroke victims) and paid VND 3.7 million (US$222) for them. However, after taking the drugs, my right leg swelled for a couple of weeks," he said. "I decided to send a petition to VINATAS and ask for help. Finally I got VND 2 million (nearly $100) as compensation from the drug company."
By telling his story, Phai hopes that consumers nationwide will realise they have rights and take precautions before deciding to buy any goods or services.
He urged the Government to give more power to VINATAS to help protect consumers' rights.
"We need strong mechanisms to set things in order, as well as human resources," Lam said.
She asked market watchers to conduct frequent checks for poor-quality products and take strict actions against violators, and the mass media to emphasise that enterprises have a responsibility to protect consumers' rights.
Vuong Ngoc Tuan, VINATAS under secretary, said the core issue now was completing the State apparatus to protect consumers. — VNS