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Low awareness of consumer rights


Many Vietnamese consumers still don't know how to defend their rights, with as many as 44% of consumers choosing to remain silent when victims of fraud or poor services, according to a recent survey by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.


Low awareness of consumer rights

The Vietnam Institute for Trade and Vietnam Competition Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade co-operated with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) on a survey of 3,000 consumers in 12 cities and provinces about their rights. The results revealed that 56% had their consumer rights infringed from 2011 to 2015.

At the top of the list were food and beverage with 19.69% of respondents agreeing that they had experienced infringements. Electronic and household appliances were second with 13.05%. Followed by daily consumer goods, telecommunications, tourism and hotels and health care.

The top complaints were about low-quality products and services, according to 25% consumers. 18% reported about being annoyed by unwanted advertising and marketing. 16% said they were tricked about the product weights and other measurements. 12% complained about product point of origin and 10% about expiry dates.

Even though 70% of asked people said they knew about the consumer rights, up to 44% said they had chosen to bite the bullet. 38.56% said because the values of the products were not big enough to enter into a dispute and 22.05% admitted they were reluctant to engage in complicated complaint procedures.

15.92% thought that the service providers would not deal with their complaints. 11% and 10.75% said they didn't know about the regulations or know which agencies to file complaints. Only 23.43% have contacted consumer protection agencies and 14.7% contacted social organisations about consumers' rights.

Pham Que Anh from GIZ said the survey showed that Vietnamese consumers had started to be more aware of their rights but more importantly was the question whether their rights could actually be defended.

"The consumers are aware of their rights but they don't know what to do about it," she said.

Anh suggested that the Consumer Protection Division should build a detailed database on submitted complaints and the amount of goods involved in disputes to show the people that their work was effective.

In addition, consumers had only complained about food and beverages and were still unaware of their rights in other fields such as e-commerce, financial services or utilities. The authorities were advised to employ an easier mechanism to help people in remote and rural areas.

By Phuong Dung | dtinews.vn | August 13, 2016 12:57 PM

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