Protecting Your Consumer Rights

Dear Hadrien,
I recently bought a new HD television in a big electronics store. At home, I installed it and watched a DVD. But after two hours, the screen went black and I couldn’t get it to work again. When I found out that not only the TV, but now also my DVD player is defective, I went back to the store. However, they told me that they would not give me a refund and I could not complain because the invoice clearly states that the shop shall not be liable for any damage from the use of their products. Is that really true? The TV cost me almost VND18 million!

In Vietnam, consumers are protected under the law on protection of consumers’ rights of 2010. This law covers a broad range of issues, such as the protection of consumer information and the obligations of the State relating to consumer rights’ protection. It also includes a list of prohibited behavior of organizations and individuals towards consumers and it contains some detailed provisions on dispute resolution.

large_screen_tv

Under this law, a “consumer” is “a person who purchases or uses goods and/or services for personal use, family use or for the use of organizations,” the electronics shop where you bought your TV would qualify as an “organization trading goods for profit on the Vietnamese
market”. Finally, a “defective good,” which is an important term in your case, is defined as “a good that does not ensure safety to consumers and that is likely to cause damage to lives, health and property of consumers even though such goods are manufactured in accordance with current technical standard norms, with no defects being detected at the time the goods were supplied to the consumer”.

The law on protection of consumers’ rights makes it clear that a trading organization, such as the store where you bought your TV, shall be liable for damages in case any defective good supplied by them causes damage to life, health and property. It doesn’t matter whether or not the store knew about the defect or whether or not the defect was caused by them. Only if they can prove that the defect of the good could not be detected with scientific and technical knowledge at the time of selling the product to you, could they be exempted from the obligation to pay damages.

From your question, it seems that the store is trying to use its general trading conditions to reject your claim for compensation and to send you back home empty-handed. Again, the law is very clear about this. According to Article 16, general trading conditions that exclude liability of
trading organizations towards consumers or that restrict or exclude the consumer’s right to complain are invalid. So even if the store’s invoice contains such a clause, it has no merit.

consumer_rights1

Now that you know about your rights as a consumer in Vietnam, the next question is how to enforce those rights when the other party isn’t cooperative. The law provides for a dispute resolution procedure, including a few different options. The first, most informal, option is negotiation. As a consumer, you have the right to request the store to enter into negotiations with you about your complaint and the store shall be legally obliged to receive you and to negotiate with you for a maximum of seven days after your request. The second option involves the assistance of a mediator to be selected upon the agreement of both parties. These first two options shall not be open to you in case the dispute causes damage to the interest of the State, the interest of many consumers or to the public interest. Further, you may opt for arbitration in accordance with the Vietnamese Law on Commercial Arbitration. The final and most formal way to resolve the dispute would be to start a civil case in court. Often, when a consumer takes this final step to start court proceedings, a simplified civil procedure can be followed in which the burden of proof
rests largely with the trader and in which the consumer shall not be obliged to pay the court charges and fees in advance.

In practice, the last option may not seem very attractive to you. Indeed, the material and financial damage that you suffered may not be worth the costs and especially the time that it would take to start arbitration or court proceedings. My advice would therefore be to try one more time to get in touch with the store where you bought your TV. Make an appointment with the manager or write him a letter. Explain clearly what happened, what you expect from him and, if you feel this is appropriate and needed, share your knowledge about your rights as a consumer in Vietnam. Good chance they will suddenly be much more willing to work with you towards a possible solution. Another option, which you may have already tried, is to see whether your TV is still under manufacturer’s warranty. Good luck!

If you have any legal questions you want answered, send them to [email protected]

BioHadrien Wolff is a member of the Paris Bar, he has been practicing law in Vietnam for six years, currently as a partner of Audier & Partners. He specializes in banking and corporate law, regularly advising major foreign banks and assisting foreign investors in setting up joint venture companies with Vietnamese partners in sensitive sectors such as media, power and natural resources.

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Fascinating Vape Subscription Tactics That Can Help Your Business Grow

The selling e-cigarette and vape products industry is booming and will keep rising in the following years. The opportunity to start selling e-cigarette and vape items online has never been more fantastic. Starting an online e-cigarette and vape company may be a lucrative and enjoyable hobby, but it requires effort and study to succeed. However,

Read More »

The US and UK Bitcoin Scenario

Bitcoin is a sort of decentralized traditional money that only exists online in an ideal world and is utilized for international trade and commerce. In terms of dealing with the process of utilization of things bitcoin is functionally similar to fiat currency however, it was never intended to work with the current system of middlemen,

Read More »

Why Meeting Rooms Are Still Important for WFH Companies

Over the past few years, a lot of companies have chosen to allow their employees to work from home. Technology means that it is easier to stay in touch and to collaborate on projects, as well as people report they are more productive in a comfortable home environment. But, this does not mean that all

Read More »

Things That Beginner Forex Traders Should Consider

If you have been thinking about getting into forex trading, that’s great! There are many people all over the world who are already trading currency pairs. And with the right strategy, you might be able to make a substantial return on the money you put into this market. But before you get started, there are

Read More »

7 Tips for Selecting the Best iGaming Platform

The iGaming experience is touching the next level with incredible technological advancements. Consider a few points before selecting the perfect gaming platform if you’re a game maniac. Gaming platforms offer thrill, amazing visuals, and excitement. So, whatever game you want to play, here are seven tips for selecting the best iGaming platform. The Game it

Read More »