Protecting consumers in e commerce


Protecting consumers in e-commerce

Many products are traded on e-commerce platforms. Photo: Q.H

Number of detected violations is still limited

The Ministry of Industry and Trade report shows that online trading is becoming a trend and habit of consumers, which helps Vietnam’s e-commerce see strong growth.

In 2022, the turnover of online retail trade will record US$ 16 billion, going up 20% compared with 2020, and is expected to hit about US$ 39 billion in 2025.

Speaking to Customs News, Director General of the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance Tran Huu Linh said that in recent three years, people’s shopping trend has shifted from traditional to online shopping. As a result, almost all consumer goods can be traded online. In addition, online retail services have boosted the strong growth of express delivery services.

However, the results of arrests and inspections show that law enforcement agencies face difficulties in controlling the fake and low-quality goods consumed via e-commerce. The Ministry of Industry and Trade receives about 1,500 complaints from consumers via hotlines and written complaints about buying counterfeit goods, goods of unknown origin, and low-quality goods online.

Previously, counterfeit goods smuggled from abroad were gathered in warehouses in big cities such as Hanoi and HCM City and sold through traditional channels. Anyone anywhere, can do business online with a large scale causing difficulties for law enforcement forces in management.

“The reason for this situation is partly because electronic online trading platforms do not have an effective mechanism to control the quality of goods. In addition, unlike traditional business, e-commerce has the participation of “third parties” which are shipping units and banks, etc. Although the shipping units play an important role, they don’t care about the quality of the goods, invisibly abetted and illegally transported counterfeit goods, even banned goods”, said Linh.

The Director General said that the market surveillance authority always determines that e-commerce is a new field and focuses on fighting against counterfeit goods traded via e-commerce, but the number of detected seizures is still limited. However, the authority has handled about 3,000 violations and fined about VND20 billion.

Developing anti-counterfeiting project

For e-commerce to become an effective trading channel for people, the development trend of the domestic retail market must have satisfactory solutions to prevent and combat fake goods and protect the interests of consumers.

Currently, the Government assigns the Ministry of Industry and Trade to develop a “Project on combating counterfeit goods and protecting the consumer in e-commerce for 2021-2025”.

Linh said that one of the key contents of this project is to build an inter-ministerial and sectoral database. Following the Government’s major policy on building an e-Government towards a digital government, ministries and sectors are interested in completing the database. Therefore, the database system will contribute to the prevention of this situation and grasp traders’ information.

In addition, the project targets 100% of business establishments and e-commerce trading platforms to sign the commitment, and 100% of consumers will be trained on anti-counterfeit goods. Specifically, the platforms need to instruct consumers not to use fake products and low-quality goods and encourage them to use Vietnamese-made goods.

The conclusion of the Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phuc, Deputy Head of the Standing Committee of the National Steering Committee 389 at the conference on combating smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods in the third quarter of 2022 stated the results of detection, arrest and handling of smuggling, commercial fraud and counterfeit goods are inconsistent with the actual situation. Smuggling, trading and transportation of banned and smuggled goods have not shown any signs of reduction. The smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods via e-commerce platforms tend to increase in many localities.

The reasons for this situation are that some units and localities have not drastically assessed and inspected the implementation of directions of the Government, the Prime Minister, and the National Steering Committee 389 on the fight against smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeit goods. In addition, some localities have not yet handled officers and heads of units that fail to control this situation effectively.

Some places still follow the movement, respect and avoid determining responsibility, handling cadres with negative signs, and heads of agencies and units for smuggling and fraud activities. As a result, trade frauds and counterfeits are complicated and prolonged.


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