Several days ago, Lazada.vn, a well known e-commerce website in Vietnam, was discovered selling equipment to assemble antipersonnel guns.
Lazada is not the only website that displays prohibited products. Other sites even offer to sell bows and arrows, gun accessories (such as rifles and pistol holsters), toys that affect children's psychology and personality, and sex products.
How to punish Lazada?
Dang Hoang Hai, director of the E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency on February 18 told Nguoi Lao Dong’s reporters that the agency was coordinating with the police to find out if the displayed products were weapons and if this was a violation of criminal law.
“We have given warnings to Lazada to check all the products displayed on the website. The owner must take responsibility in the case. It is necessary to remove products from the shelves and punish the sellers,” he said.
General director of the Market Control Department Tran Huu Linh said if agencies conclude that the products sold on Lazada are weapons or sets of weapon parts, this may be criminally prosecuted or administrative fines may be imposef, depending on the offence.
According to a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), e-commerce websites must take the responsibility for checking information about products provided by sellers and supporting management agencies to investigate when necessary. If they violate regulations, fines of tens of million of dong will be imposed.
The explanations by MOIT’s officials, however, have not satisfied lawyers.
Truong Thanh Duc from Basico Law Firm said that agencies must not make excuses about loose market management.
“It is necessary to clarify the responsibilities of the owners of e-commerce sited. Removing products from shelves isnot the only thing they need to do,” he said.
He also called for heavy sanctions on violators, saying that only strict punishments can prevent violators from repeating the same mistakes.
Nguyen Thanh Ha from SBLAW agrees that Lazada, as the owner and intermediary party, also must take responsibility for violations.
Observers say that prohibited goods, as well as counterfeit and forged products, are rampant on e-commerce sites.
Vinastas (Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association) confirmed that the association has received a many complaints about e-commerce sites.
A consumer from Nha Trang City complained he bought a camera from Lazada.vn which did not work. A consumer from HCMC said he ordered a SH150i ABS 2018 scooter on Sendo.vn and paid VND30 million, but the seller disappeared.