The comparative study on consumer protection laws in ASEAN
Keywords:consumer, consumer protection, redress
Two phases of qualitative study on “The Comparative Study on Consumer Protection Laws in ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)” have revealed consumer protection laws of ASEAN members including the in-charge organizations and their redress mechanisms in order to weigh the readiness towards the ASEAN approach. The research findings discovered that regarding the preventive and suppress viewpoint, all ASEAN countries’ consumer protection laws are in harmony. Consumer are protected under either principal law or specific laws, which are complied with ASEAN Charter and ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, with an exception of no competition law in Cambodia. With regard to the redress viewpoint, all member countries have by-law redress mechanism mostly in the principal law except for Laos, where basic litigation right is based on the Constitution. Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam have administrative sanctions as well. Challenges are consumer access to government services in Brunei Darussalam and Cambodia, geographical barrier and poverty in Indonesia and Vietnam, consumer online protection development in the Philippines and redress mechanism development in Laos. In summary, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are countries most ready with the legislation and redress mechanism, and Cambodia would be the most challenged country as to new legislation enforcement. Recommendations are divided into two areas. (1) In terms of Policy, it should start with (1.1) setting up a One Stop Service in national and regional levels using English as an official language. (1.2) State should encourage consumers to realize their rights and businesses to exercise the market ethically and establish a redress mechanism where possible. (1.3) The establishment of a model law on consumer protection is needed. (2) In terms of redress mechanism, (2.1) creation of consumer protection network should be encountered. (2.2) State should set up One Stop Service and an Online Dispute Resolution: ODR system or other means for a redress mechanism.