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Protecting Consumer Rights in Vietnam’s Digital Era

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The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has taken proactive measures to safeguard consumer rights amidst the burgeoning landscape of e-commerce, aiming to address the surge in complaints and concerns from consumers navigating online exchanges, e-commerce platforms, and social networks.

According to the MoIT’s 2022 report, consumer feedback and complaints within the realm of e-commerce ranked notably high, constituting about 15% of the total complaints received. Grievances predominantly revolved around delayed deliveries, discrepancies in quantity and quality, goods damaged during storage or transit, inadequate support or slow refund processes for cancelled orders, and instances where vendors obstructed communication and shirked responsibility in compensating consumers for their orders.

Phan The Thang, head of the Consumer Protection Department within the Ministry’s National Competition Commission, highlighted the inherent risks consumers face in the evolving e-commerce environment. Counterfeit products, goods of ambiguous origins, and intellectual property infringements emerged as prominent issues within the landscape.

The proliferation of poor-quality goods, counterfeits, and items not aligning with advertised representations on e-commerce and social platforms raised concerns. Exploitative practices, including fraudulent activities and asset misappropriation via e-commerce, online platforms, and social networks, pose pressing challenges for regulatory bodies.

An official from the MoIT’s Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy shed light on instances where fraudulent schemes exploited sales collaborations and online orders on e-commerce platforms to gain undue commissions.

In response to these challenges, the National Competition Commission introduced the Code of Responsible Business for Consumers in E-commerce. This code not only enables e-commerce platforms to assess their adherence to e-commerce laws but also fosters improved consumer rights protection, promoting sustainable and efficient e-commerce practices.

Moreover, the code empowers consumers by aiding them in evaluating and selecting e-commerce platforms or suppliers, fostering a sense of security and confidence in their online shopping experiences. This initiative aims to cultivate an ethical foundation within the online business sphere, ultimately generating greater value for the community and society at large.

Thang emphasised that safeguarding consumer rights in the digital realm has become an imperative matter for society, state regulatory bodies, businesses, and consumers alike. Consequently, the National Competition Commission, in collaboration with relevant agencies, is committed to revising and proposing policy improvements that align with the demands of integration and digital transformation.

Simultaneously, there is a concerted effort to develop comprehensive regulations supplementing the implementation of the Law on Consumer Rights Protection, particularly focusing on fortifying consumer rights in the online domain. Additionally, the MoIT plans to initiate programs aimed at enhancing consumer awareness and skill sets in e-commerce, providing guidance to mitigate and prevent cyber fraud within the digital marketplace.

Vietnam envisions a robust and inclusive digital economy, aiming not only to harness the power of technology for economic advancement but also to bridge societal gaps, ensuring equitable access to digital resources and opportunities. This ambition involves fostering an ecosystem conducive to innovation, digital infrastructure development, and the cultivation of skilled talent, all aimed at propelling the nation forward in the global digital landscape.

OpenGov Asia reported that Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Industry and Trade, in collaboration with e-commerce platforms, organised seminars focusing on cross-border e-commerce and global expansion for local enterprises during a demand-supply connectivity conference.

Experts highlighted the importance of e-commerce channels, discussing strategies to enhance sales and use big data insights to meet customer needs. Vietnam’s cross-border e-commerce has seen consistent growth, reaching an annual rate of 20%, ranking among the top five globally in trade growth.

Despite this, challenges persist for small and medium-sized enterprises in accessing online markets. However, there’s been significant growth in Vietnamese businesses’ exports through a major e-commerce platform, marking a 50% increase in export value and a 40% rise in sales partners, with millions of products from Vietnam sold on the platform.


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