The Advertisement Law, comprising of the strict regulations on the advertisers with an aim to protect consumers, will take effects from January 1, 2013. However, it’s still not sure if the aim of the law can be gained.
Law more open than ordinance?
The advertisement law allows print papers to have more advertisement pages, and allow radio and television stations to have the time for advertisement accounting for 10 percent of the total broadcasting time (the figure stipulated in the advertisement ordinance was five percent).
In an effort to protect consumers, the law stipulates the owners of the products in advertisement pieces and the management agencies must have take joint responsibility for the ad pieces with wrong information.
Especially, the fine of up to 200 million dong would be imposed on the ad pieces which provide wrong information, which is five times higher than the currently applied fine level.
The advertisement law is hoped to help settle the chaos in the market. Television audience complains that they have been regularly persecuted by the advertisement pieces which appear at any time in any programme on TV. An episode of a drama can be interrupted for four times at least to give place to advertisement clips.
Two months ago, a soft drink manufacturer posted an advertisement video clip with the images shocking consumers, which then directed the spearhead of the public’s criticism to the three well know models Ngoc Trinh, Hoang Yen and Yen Nhi.
The ad piece was described as a video clip to advertise underwear products instead of soft drinks.
Protecting consumers, how?
How to protect consumers from the advertisements with wrong information remains a question. A lot of other questions also remain unanswered. Which agencies would come forward to confirm the quality and the safety of products? Who would come forward and protect consumers’ rights in case manufacturers provide wrong information in the ad pieces?
If the heart breaking death of a woman had not been reported on mass media, no one would have known about the real healthcare service quality of the Maria consulting room.
Prior to that, an advertisement video clip was broadcasted on TV, affirming that this was one of the best clinics now in Vietnam.
Consumers themselves do not think that their rights can be protected by the law, once the punishments on violators are still not heavy enough.
According to Nang Luong Moi, in 2010, Vi Thy Production, Trade and Service Company in Binh Tan district in HCM City posted an ad piece with the image of a special kind of helmets, affirming that the helmets can meet the technical standards to be used to protect motorbike drivers.
Later, the helmets of the company were found as suitable to bicycle riders only. The manufacturer was then imposed punishment: Vi Thy had to pay the fine of 27.5 million dong, which was just double the monthly income of a middle class Vietnamese person in Vietnam.
Cong An Nhan Dan has reported that the so called “electronic cigarette” has been advertised on many websites as containing no toxic substances, no cause to cancer and having high detoxification efficiency.
Hoa, an office worker, said she could not find any information about any enterprise which was licensed to import the special products. Hoa has also found out that the products also contain nicotine. Meanwhile, no agency has come forward to say about the quality of the products, though the products have been available in Vietnam for the last four years.
Therefore, in order to protect themselves, they need to be “smart consumers” instead of expecting the protection by the law.