Customers shop at a grocery store. The sale of poor quality products and fake goods remains a problem. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng
HCM CITY (VNS) — Despite efforts made by agencies and organisations in implementing policies on the protection of consumer rights, violations are still rampant, according to the Consumer Rights Protection Association of HCM City.
The sale of poor quality products and fake goods as well as trade fraud remained high, said Ngô Bách Phong, the association chairman.
Hygiene and food safety were the top concerns of consumers and were the most frequent complaints.
The association proposed that the Government apply strict measures in dealing with violations on food safety, he said.
Speaking at a seminar in HCM City yesterday, Phan Thế Thắng, deputy head of the Consumer Protection Division under the Việt Nam Competition Authority, said the number of violations had increased strongly year after year.
“We received nearly 2,000 complaints about violations of consumer rights last year, mostly relating to daily consumption goods (food and household utensils),” he said.
In addition, the number of defective products that had been recalled has also increased.
A legal framework in the country exists but enforcement had been insufficient, he said, adding that resources supporting consumer rights protection were limited.
Sakai Toshifumi, director of JICA Liaison Office in HCM City, said consumer protection was important in the time of international integration.
JICA has been co-operating with the Việt Nam Competition Authority to promote better enforcement of the Law on Protection of Consumers’ Rights since 2104.
“Under the co-operation project between VCA and JICA, we expect two outputs. The first is strengthening basic knowledge for authorities and associations,” he said. “The second is strengthening readiness of consultations from consumers.”
This year the project would have a training programme in Japan about these two outputs, he said.
Trần Vinh Nhung, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said consumer rights were important as transactions took place both inside and outside the country, particularly as e-commerce had increased.
“The protection of consumer rights requires the involvement of all state agencies, industries and whole society,” he said.
Thắng said businesses should raise awareness about the importance of protection of consumer rights and assign staff to be in charge of solving consumer complaints.
Consumers should be aware of their rights in a period of open economic integration. Awareness would lead to a wiser selection of goods, he said.
Coordination between ministries and agencies should be strengthened as well.
The Prime Minister has chosen March 15 as the Vietnamese Consumer Rights Day, which will raise public awareness about the importance of protecting consumer rights and interest. - VNS