Following a series of articles on the latest regulations on E-commerce activities (E-commerce) that will take effect from January 1, 2022, this article shall provide readers with some new important rules related to the provision/ operation of traders and organizations through E-commerce exchanges – a common form of E-commerce activity in Vietnam which allows traders, organizations and individuals who do not own websites to conduct partial or whole of the process of buying and selling goods and services on it.
Article 30 of ‘Decree No. 52/2013/ND-CP’ had provided for the responsibility to provide information about goods and services of traders, organizations and individuals selling goods and services on E-commerce exchanges. However, this regulation only requires the seller to “provide information so that the customer can accurately identify the characteristics of goods and services to avoid misunderstanding before concluding a contract“. Thus, there are no specific instructions on how to determine whether the information is sufficient and appropriate? Therefore, when applying this regulation in practice, it is inevitable that the purchased goods and services do not meet the expectations of customers and causes a pressing sentiment in a large segment of consumers, and greatly affecting the development of E-commerce in Vietnam.
To solve this problem, ‘Decree 85/2021/ND-CP’ has added several new requirements related to providing information about goods and services sold on E-commerce exchanges. Accordingly, information on the goods label must be provided except for information of a separate nature. This is to help consumers get enough information about the goods & services before making a decision whether to buy the goods & services or not.
Besides, according to this new regulation, the sellers need to provide not only information mentioned above about goods and services but also about their satisfaction of business conditions in case the traded goods and services are conditional as prescribed by law. Complete fulfillment of the regulations on the conditions of trading in goods and services by the seller can be a solid basis for buyers to consider and trust the products and services of that supplier.
To keep up with technological changes in general and in the field of E-commerce in particular, ‘Decree 85’ has adjusted and supplemented some types of E-commerce exchanges, particularly:
“2. Forms of operation of e-commerce exchanges:
a) The website allows participants to open booths to display and introduce goods or services,
b) The website allows participants to open accounts to perform the process of entering into contracts with customers,
c) The website has a sales section, on which it allows participants to post information about the purchase and sale of goods and services,
d) The social network has one of the activities specified in Point a, b, c of this Clause and the participant directly or indirectly pays a fee for the performance of such activities.”
Accordingly, if a social network has one of the above features and participants can directly or indirectly pay fees for the performance of such activities, it is considered an E-commerce exchange. According to law on E-commerce, organizations and individuals owning social networks must carry out registration procedures with competent state agencies and ensure that all E-commerce-related activities conducted on such social networks comply with the law.
Thus, these legal regulations have partly reflected the reality of life. By making the livestreaming of sales, posting product introduction on social networks by individuals and organizations has become one of the E-commerce activities forcing the relevant individuals and organizations to comply with the legal provisions on E-commerce. This will also be the basis for punishing violators of law on E-commerce as well as protecting consumers when transacting on E-commerce/social networking platforms.
Besides the expansion of the forms of E-commerce exchanges, ‘Decree 85’ also stipulates new regulations on the obligations of traders and organizations providing E-commerce exchanges to better suit the developing market. They include:
a) Concretizing measures against traders and organizations for business violations on E-commerce exchanges:
The new regulation lists some measures that traders owning E-commerce exchange must take. They include preventing and removing infringing information, and warning or refusal to provide services instead of mere general provisions such as ‘Decree 52’ which stipulates to “Take timely measures when detecting or receiving feedback on business violations on e-commerce exchanges.”
b) Concretizing support for the competent authorities in investigating and handling violations and resolving disputes and complaints:
Like point (a), ‘Decree 85’ has listed the activities that organizations and traders providing E-commerce exchanges must carry out to support the competent authorities in investigating and handling violations and resolving disputes and complaints. Such activities include providing information about violators to the competent authorities upon detecting or receiving reflections, regularly updating keywords as recommended by the competent authorities and filtering information by keyword before information about goods and services is displayed on the website.
c) More obligations of traders and organizations providing E-commerce exchanges with online ordering functions.
Accordingly, in addition to the general obligations stipulated from Clause 1 to Clause 10 of Article 36, traders and organizations providing E-commerce exchanges facilitating online orders also have some new obligations such as (a) appointing a focal point to receive requests and provide information to the competent authorities about violations within 24 hours, (b) representing foreign sellers on E-commerce exchanges to resolve consumer complaints, (c) storing information about order transactions, etc.
These new regulations on E-commerce have created many legal mechanisms for competent authorities to better protect the rights of consumers as well as limit violations of the law on E-commerce environment and e-commerce exchanges. Hence, readers may utilize the above information to make themselves aware of the legal provisions related to E-commerce taking effect soon. This helps so to adjust your business plan more appropriately to minimize the risks that may occur.
The article is based on applicable law at the time noted as above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader approaches this article as the applicable law has changed and the specific case that the reader wishes to apply. Therefore, the article is only for reference.