Legal framework to protect consumers in cyberspace being completed

October, 21/2022 - 10:26
Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that cases of consumer rights violations increased rapidly in both quantity and severity, with about 1,500 cases per year in the 2016-2020 period.
Delegates at the online seminar on improving the legal framework to strengthen consumer protection on cyberspace in Hà Nội on Wednesday. — Photo tapchicongthuong.vn

HÀ NỘI — E-commerce, on the one hand, helps consumers buy and sell goods quickly, easily and conveniently, but also poses more risks.

These include the theft of personal information, as well as scams or the sale of fake and imitation goods. Sometimes resolving such issues can take a long time.

Đại biểu nhân dân (People's Representative) newspaper in collaboration with the Việt Nam Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (VCCA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade held an online seminar on improving the legal framework to strengthen consumer protection in cyberspace in Hà Nội on Wednesday.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that cases of consumer rights violations increased rapidly in both quantity and severity, with about 1,500 cases per year in the 2016-20 period. This is also the boom period of e-commerce.

Meanwhile, current legal policies, especially the Law on Protection of Consumer Rights, which was promulgated 12 years ago, lack provisions suitable for business models with new elements in terms of digital transformation. Many new violations of consumer rights have also not been covered in the law.

In order to perfect the legal framework to protect the interests of consumers, especially in the e-commerce environment and in cyberspace, the Government proposed and was approved by the National Assembly to put the amended draft of the Law on Protection of Consumer Rights into the programme on building laws and ordinances this year.

It is expected that the amended draft of the Law on Protection of Consumer Rights will be voted on by the National Assembly at the fourth session, and considered for approval at the fifth session in May next year.

Trịnh Anh Tuấn, VCCA deputy director, said that protecting consumers' interests in cyberspace was still a new issue for Việt Nam.

Protecting the interests of consumers must be done regularly and continuously, Tuấn emphasised.

In particular, during the peak shopping season at the end of the year or in the context of the pandemic, the issue of protecting consumers' interests was always a focus to prevent and limit acts of regulation infringement, he added.

VCCA has actively taken many measures to improve the effectiveness of consumer protection in general and to protect consumers' interests in cyberspace.

It has coordinated with the Việt Nam E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency (iDEA) to organise the signing of commitments with e-commerce platforms so that in case consumers have complaints, e-commerce platforms must provide a transparent disclosure of processes for receiving and handling consumer complaints.

In addition, it will promote coordination activities with specialised forces in the fields of commerce, quality management, and product safety to enhance information sharing and supervision activities, and promptly detect and handle violations of the law on consumer protection.

However, Lại Việt Anh, iDEA deputy director, said that along with the expansion of the e-commerce market, violations have been increasingly sophisticated and diverse.

Therefore, completing the legal framework to strengthen the protection of consumers' interests in cyberspace was essential, she said.

Currently, the draft law has added a new chapter providing for the protection of consumers' interests in specific transactions. It is worth noting that the draft has added specific regulations on the responsibilities of organisations and individuals doing business with consumers in transactions in cyberspace.

At the seminar, the delegates also discussed and clarified issues such as protecting personal information of customers in cyberspace according to international experience as well as practical application at enterprises and propose solutions to complete the law project to better protect consumers in cyberspace.

“Currently, we do not have specific and clear regulations on consumer protection in cyberspace. Therefore, it is necessary to draft a separate chapter regulating consumer protection in specific transactions, including cyberspace. This is a complicated issue and needs to be carefully studied with detailed regulations," noted Tạ Đình Thi, deputy head of Science, Technology and Environment Committee of the National Assembly. — VNS

E-paper