The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s experience in improving businesses’ sense of responsibility to their customers were presented at a workshop in the central city of Da Nang on February 3 in the context of historically poor consumer rights protection in Vietnam.

Despite efforts by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) to raise companies’ liability, violations of consumer rights have increased in their scale and complexity, VCA Director General Bach Van Mung said, partly attributing the concerns to the rapid development of the market economy and the country’s rapid integration into the global economy.

VCA Deputy Director Trinh Anh Tuan said local firms have remained passive in providing information and resolving consumer complaints while failing to thoroughly adhere to the Law on Protection of Consumers’ Rights.

Local authorities have not devoted adequate attention to this issue, leading to a staff shortage in grievances resolution, he added.

Lee Chang Huyn, Executive Director of the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA)’s Department of Information and Education, said support services are currently time-consuming and inaccessible to Vietnamese consumers.

He urged the local public to improve their understanding and actively exercise their rights.

Choi Yoon Seon, head of KCA’s Business Support Team, said Vietnam needs to develop a professional customer care policy stipulating product maintenance services and procedures for filing complaints and settling disputes.

A consumer-centred management system modelled after its RoK counterpart is essential to promote competitiveness and consumption benefits, she added.-VNA