Watchdog warns of TV shopping risks

The Vietnam Competition Authority has warned consumers to be careful when shopping via television channels (TV shopping) as it may pose a threat to their consumer rights.

TV shopping has become increasingly popular in recent years in Vietnam.

However, the competition authority has pointed out that the greatest problems posed by TV shopping are false advertising, lack of clarity in the origin of products, deceptive reward programmes, and ignorance of consumers' complaints.

The authority said that when shopping via TV channels, consumers have no opportunity to test the products directly, so they may end up disappointed by the products' quality or usefulness, which could differ greatly from what was advertised.

Many products sold through TV channels have been found to be of unclear origin and poor quality, the authority said. According to consumers' claims, some of the rewards they had received from TV shopping networks were fake or low-quality products, or the customers had to pay a sum of money to receive the rewards.

In addition, some firms were also ignorant of customers' attempts to return products even though regulations stipulate that consumers have a right to unilaterally terminate the contract within ten days if the product is not the same as what was advertised.

A variety of products are sold via TV shopping, such as cosmetics, jewellery, supplementary foods, watches and gym equipment.

According to the competition authority, consumers should verify information in advertisements before purchasing products via TV shopping networks.

In particular, customers should be careful with products for daily use which are sold at extraordinarily high prices, such as shampoos, rinses, skin creams and home appliances, as well as products which were advertised as premium quality.

Consumers can dial 1-800-6838 for support from a consultant, or they can send their claims to the competition authority via the website or email