Draft version of Revised Law on Protection of Consumer Rights under discussion

May 27, 2023 - 07:35
Lê Quang Huy, Head of the NA's Committee of Science, Technology, and Environment, revealed that lawmakers had introduced two new concepts to the draft, namely 'organisational consumer' and 'sustainable consumption'.
Consumers shop around at a Co.opmart supermarket in Hà Nội. VNA/VNS Trần Việt

HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly (NA) yesterday opened discussions on the draft version of the Revised Law on Protection of Consumer Rights.

Lê Quang Huy, Head of the NA's Committee of Science, Technology, and Environment, revealed that lawmakers had introduced two new concepts to the draft, namely 'organisational consumer' and 'sustainable consumption'.

They had also expanded the scope of Article 10 to cover consumers and providers of public service, and Article 36 had been developed in this regard to define the latter's responsibilities.

Under the draft, consumers must provide full and accurate information about their transactions to the authorities on request. They would be held responsible for disclosure of inadequate and inaccurate of information, Huy said.

The draft had also shaped the relationships between consumers and producers in the cyber environment by defining their rights and responsibilities online.

The role of social organisations, such as Vietnam Consumer Protection Associations (VCPAs), in protecting consumer rights was enhanced as per the draft. They could now take legal action against violators on behalf of consumers.

Legal disputes arising from transactions of VNĐ100 million (US$4260) or above, under the draft, would be settled according to simplified procedures.

NA deputy Nguyễn Văn Cảnh opined that the draft should be revised to settle the situation in which a consumer violates another consumer's rights.

"Some consumers behave as if they were 'God'," Cảnh said. "They jostle for a position in the line, affecting others' rights."

Cảnh called for a new article to the draft, which would stipulate that consumer rights would not be violated by other organisations, individuals, and consumers.

NA deputy Nguyễn Thị Sửu believed that the provision on public service providers under the draft was not exhaustive. She proposed a new notion, 'the State bodies that provide public service', be added to the draft to fill the gap.

She also suggested a modification to Article 3 to ensure the article was in line with other relevant legal documents.

"The phrase 'for profit-making purposes' in Article 3 should be changed into 'for profit-seeking purposes' to be compatible with other regulations," Sửu said.

NA deputy Phạm Văn Hòa remarked many producers had employed puffery to boost sales. Such a practice harms consumers as puffery was nothing more than false praise.

He called for two new articles to the draft, one to hold producers accountable for any damage to consumers caused by exaggerated praise and the other to ensure consumers' warranty claims be handled without hindrance.

NA deputy Tạ Đình Thi said VCPAs had little funding to operate because they did not collect member fees, which had hindered their objective of safeguarding consumer rights.

He suggested putting in place a mechanism under which VCPAs' operating costs would be covered partly by the State budget to give them more financial room to support consumers. — VNS