Considering the increase in cross-border activities in the region, the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) has launched an online mechanism to quickly respond to consumer complaints.
According to the ACCP, the “online consumer complaints handling function” launched at the recent 3rd ASEAN Consumer Protection Conference is one of the first steps towards the development of the online dispute resolution network. ASEAN line by 2025.
Consumers can use the mechanism available at www.aseanconsumer.org to submit complaints regarding products purchased in any of the ASEAN member countries. Complaints can be filed for both online and offline purchases.
Complaints are then forwarded to the national consumer protection authority of the country concerned to facilitate redress.
Complaints can be lodged by individual consumers, collectively or by the representation of a consumer organisation/association. Consumers will be able to track the progress of their complaint from the filing and receipt of comments by CCPA focal points, through to its resolution, through the issuance of a tracking number by the system.
All complaints, including supporting documents, will be confidential. Each complaint must be dealt with within 30 working days, subject to possible extensions.
The CACP, meanwhile, has also launched the “Online Consumer Learning Tools”, a self-paced learning course on four basic consumer protection topics, free for registered users. .
The e-learning modules cover topics such as ‘Understanding Consumer Issues’, ‘Becoming a Consumer Champion’, ‘Building a Consumer Movement’ and ‘Dispute Mediation’. Participants can take part in all lessons and quizzes, and earn a certificate of completion at the end of each module.
The e-Learning program is also supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
In his opening remarks at the 3rd ASEAN Conference on Consumer Protection, ASEAN Economic Community Deputy Secretary General Satvinder Singh said the conference was timely as ASEAN is tackling currently to emerging issues resulting from the advent of the digital economy and the rise of cross-border trade.
Dr Moe Moe Thwe, President of the ACCP, said: “We are already living in a new era where consumer protection concerns are pressing. We must accelerate the implementation of our initiatives and action plans across all sectors, grow the consumer movement and inspire a new generation of well-informed consumers who will not hesitate to take action to meet the challenges of the new economy.
Cambodia, meanwhile, had recently announced the implementation of the National Consumer Protection Program (NCPP) under the Consumer Protection Act to strengthen consumer rights.
Cambodia also enacted its competition law last year, as planned under the Asean Economic Community Blueprint 2025, ensuring equal opportunities and competition for businesses in the Kingdom.