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Mar 17, 2023 / 20:20

Hanoi promotes public awareness of consumer rights

It is critical that consumers take an active role in researching, analyzing, and improving their knowledge of products and businesses to avoid falling victim to deceptive goods and fraudulent businesses.

The Hanoi People's Committee has teamed up with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to raise public awareness about customers' rights through a month-long campaign called "Transparent Information - Safe Consumption".

 Customers buying products at Hapro Thanh Cong. Photo: Trong Tung/The Hanoi Times

The campaign aims to highlight the significance and value of information in safeguarding the rights of consumers against intricate and sophisticated fraudulent practices, particularly in the online environment.

Consumers must take an active role in seeking, analyzing, and improving their knowledge of products and businesses to avoid falling victim to deceptive merchandise and fraudulent businesses, according to local authorities.

Acting Director of Hanoi's Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan noted the city has taken proactive measures such as developing plans, organizing numerous programs and events, and intensifying inspections to safeguard the interests of consumers within the region.

"As a result, there has been a significant shift in the attitude towards upholding the law in the domain of consumer protection," Lan said. 

Recently, the Hanoi Steering Committee 389 has issued a plan which outlines the policy tasks for combating smuggling, commercial fraud, and counterfeit goods in Hanoi in 2023. The plan emphasizes the need for timely and effective dissemination of information on policies related to preventing and combating these illegal activities in the city.

Special emphasis is placed on educating enterprises involved in the production, import, export, and trade of goods on the importance of complying with the law and preventing the sale of counterfeit goods.

The plan also calls for reporting on the inspection and handling of cases by relevant authorities to inform the public about the harmful impact of these illegal activities on the economy, culture, and public health. The information provided must also be honest, objective, constructive, and responsible. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness and build consensus among the people of Hanoi, thereby contributing to the success of the fight against smuggling, trade fraud, and counterfeit goods.

Raising sellers’ responsbility

Speaking at the launch of Vietnam's Consumer Rights Day [March 15], Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan said that consumer rights protection has made positive progress over the years, benefiting both consumers and promoting genuine business development.

In 2022, the first draft of the amended Consumer Protection Law was submitted to the National Assembly, which is expected to better protect customers from low-quality and counterfeit products.

The call center system for consumer support and consultation (18006838) continues to expand, providing a foundation for improving the quality of consumer consultation and support, and contributing to the establishment of a national consumer protection database.

Consumers have also been active in seeking information and improving their knowledge and skills. However, recent events, especially on social media platforms, show that consumers are still vulnerable. Therefore, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce calls on agencies, organizations, and the business community to provide accurate, complete, and timely information to enable consumers to make informed decisions.

Minister of Finance and Deputy Head of the Standing Committee of the National Steering Committee 389, Ho Duc Phoc, emphasized the importance of propaganda and law dissemination in the fight against smuggling, commercial fraud, and counterfeit goods. He urged the reinforcement of policies and law dissemination to encourage people not to participate in such illegal activities. Market Surveillance Authority was also urged to improve coordination, connection, and timely information sharing.

Phoc added that although the legal framework for protecting consumer interests has improved, it is crucial to conduct further research, acquire knowledge and participate actively to make a difference in real life.

With better knowledge, consumers can make more informed decisions, resulting in fewer complaints and less frustration due to fraudulent activities. The most effective way to avoid financial losses and health risks is to be informed about products, companies, production facilities, and suppliers, he said.

To do this, one must stay up to date with legal knowledge and product information, compare and analyze, and identify any shortcomings and ambiguities in product advertising," he added.

As per the data provided by the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee for Combating Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeit Goods, known as Steering Committee 389, various agencies, functional forces, and localities detected 139,758 violations in 2022, representing a 1.17% increase from the same period in 2021.

Reports on the sale and tampering of fake, counterfeit, and substandard products have been frequent, especially during the recent Lunar New Year, causing satisfaction and concern among consumers.

Smuggled, counterfeit, and substandard products are prevalent in all industries, including food and beverage, cosmetics, functional foods, and pharmaceuticals. With products lacking quality guarantees, consumers are likely to lose money if they are not vigilant and fail to verify information or thoroughly investigate the source.