The consumer protection hotline on 1510 requires closer cooperation and more responsibility from the concerned sectors to ensure the faster resolution of claims or disputes.After the Department of Domestic Trade declared it would open the consumer protection hotline at the beginning of June, many people showed interest and called to lodge claims for resolution, ask for information or seek general consultation.
This project is being implemented by the customer protection and competition promotion division under the Department of Domestic Trade.
Some cases of claim were able to be resolved rapidly while others took a long time due to a lack of team work or coordination between units or other sectors, according to department officials.
Meanwhile some sectors have no units or committees to respond to this project in terms of finding solutions when someone asks for assistance.
The project is comprised of different sectors such as the Ministries of Science and Technology, Agriculture and Forestry, Health, and Post and Telecommunications.
The customer protection and competition promotion division serves only as a centre for recording complaints and problems raised by consumers, which it must then forward to each concerned sector for resolution.
However the implementation of the project has not progressed as planned yet and requires close collaboration from other concerned sectors and local authorities as well as the required technological systems.
This is one of a number of consumer protection projects in the Lao PDR, which is being supported by the German government through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The hotline’s launching aimed to extend and strictly implement the Law on Consumer Protection, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.
It is a key milestone and important step forward for Laos, particularly as it provides a tool for consumers to coordinate or report on consumer protection issues to the respective government agencies.
Moreover, it is an obligation of the Lao PDR under the ASEAN framework.
Recently, due to the rapid growth of the economy as well as the proliferation of manufacturers and service providers, consumers may face issues relating to the poor quality of products and services.
The Law on Consumer Protection of the Lao PDR provides rights for consumers to report or claim for solutions and compensation from product and service providers that do not meet the requisite quality standards and may pose risks or dangers to lives, health or property.
The Launching of the hotline provides an option for consumers to complain or provide information, and could serve to encourage manufacturers and business operators to pay more attention to their production standards and ensure they supply good quality products, maintain standards and the safety of products and services at reasonable prices.
Source: Vientiane Times