Consumer Law in Thailand aims to protect consumers while they deal with business entrepreneurs. Ralph Nader, an American activist and Lawyer, helped to develop this field of law. It started by with the industry of automobiles in the United States. Governments then joined in and passed Laws specifying rules governing consumer consent and safety. Consumer Law in Thailand is a recent concept but it is spreading quickly. It is basically based on a law enabled in 1979 called the “Consumer Protection Act” of Thailand”.
Consumer Protection Law is a set of rules aiming to protect the individuals against certain forms of sales. It covers contract stipulations and rules against impulsive buying or pressure sales or similar tactics.
There was a long history of failed attempts to overhaul the consumer protection system in Thailand. Around 2008-2009, the governments passed two laws to move into a new era.
Two new laws about Consumer protection Thailand
Two significant laws acting are the foundation of this new era of consumer protection have already been passed. They both became active around 2008-2009.
These two additional laws provide greater protection to consumers. They reduced numerous obstacles in moving through a complex legal system. They also facilitated the consumers’ ability to claim for damages arising from products, services and even professional services.
The laws’ introduction has undoubtedly change the way of doing business in Thailand. Some operators may view the laws as a risk and burden, others may view them as an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. Regardless of how operators view these changes, there is no choice other than to understand the implications of the new laws and prepare for the challenges ahead.
Consumer Case Procedure Act of Thailand
The first law is the Act on Court Proceedings for Consumer Cases B.E. 2551 (2008), generally known as the “Consumer Case Procedure Act”, which came into effect with respect to cases filed with the court after Aug 24, 2008. As its name suggests, this law relates to the rules governing court proceedings. Consumers in the past faced several obstacles in initiating an action against a business.
The former court proceedings were time-consuming and difficult to for consumers lacking legal resources and funds to navigate. Furthermore, damages awarded were normally minimal.
As a result, consumers took alternative recourse by attempting to draw media attention to their causes and force business operators to make compensation. This highly publicised form of action was seen by many as damaging to the image of the nation and the credibility of the legal system.
To address this ineffective process, the new Act provides simpler, quicker and cheaper proceedings, as well as empowering the court to award a broader range of damages.
This Act also introduces several new concepts into the Thai legal system such as punitive damages, compulsory recall, replacement remedy, new evidence rule, effect of the judgment on the following cases and piercing the corporate veil.
The Consumer Cases Act applies to all cases arising from the consumption of Products and Services and cases under the Product Liability Act. This means cases between consumers and business operators with respect to the sale of all kinds of goods, sale of condominium units, construction agreements, hire-purchase agreements, leasing, loans between banks and consumers, credit card services, medical services, hotel services, accounting services, insurance, etc. are all consumer cases which are subject to the new consumer friendly proceedings under the Consumer Cases Act.
Some scholars estimate that 70% to 80% of normal cases will now fall under the ambit of this new law, hence facilitating the filing of cases and increasing the chances of obtaining more significant damage awards. This clearly underscores the impact this Act will have on the business landscape and the challenges that lie ahead for business operators.
The second law: The product liability Act.
The second law is The Product Liability Act of Thailand, which will cover products sold after Feb 21, 2009.
In today’s world of high technology, consumers are often unable to understand the manufacturing and design of the products they purchase. As well, many low-quality products from foreign countries are imported to and sold on the Thai market. Former legislation failed to provide adequate protection to consumers from damages sustained as a result of unsafe products. As such, the time is ripe for reform to product liability laws in Thailand.
Thailand’s consumer protection and product liability laws have been under significant transformation around 2008-2009. They brought a new era of enhanced consumer rights and safeguards. Two crucial laws serve as the pillars of this evolution. These laws aim to simplify legal proceedings, empower consumers to claim damages for various issues, and reshape the business landscape in Thailand.
Consumer Cases Act
The Consumer Cases Act: The first key law, the “Consumer Cases Act” (Act on Court Proceedings for Consumer Cases B.E. 2551), has been in effect since August 24, 2008. It focuses on streamlining court procedures to offer consumers a simpler, quicker, and more affordable process for seeking justice. Previously, consumers faced numerous obstacles when taking legal action against businesses, which often deterred them due to the complexities and costs involved.
With the Consumer Cases Act, Thai consumers now have an efficient means to pursue cases related to product and service consumption, including those under the Product Liability Act. This law covers a wide range of cases, such as disputes over goods sales, construction agreements, financial services, medical services, and more. Notably, the Act introduces novel concepts like punitive damages, compulsory recalls, replacement remedies, and new evidence rules, among others, to strengthen consumer protection further.
Consumer Law in Thailand today
The Product Liability Act: The second significant law, “The Act on Liability for Injuries from Unsafe Products, B.E. 2551,” or the “Product Liability Act,” took effect on February 21, 2009. This law addressed the rising complexity of modern products and the influx of low-quality imports. It protects consumers susceptible to injuries caused by unsafe items. The previous legislation failed to offer adequate protection against such damages. It prompted the need for a comprehensive reform in Thailand’s product liability laws.
The Product Liability Act aims to hold manufacturers and suppliers accountable for any injuries or damages caused by their products. This way, consumers can confidently purchase goods without worrying about safety concerns. The applies to products sold after the effective date, and it signifies the government’s commitment to safeguarding consumer interests in an ever-evolving marketplace.
Since 2008-2009, Thailand’s consumer protection landscape is witnessed a fundamental shift towards bolstered consumer rights. These laws created an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to consumer well-being. They could gain a competitive advantage in the market. For consumers, these changes offer greater confidence and protection when purchasing products and availing services. As Thailand embraces consumer law, both businesses and consumers must adapt. It is an evolving legal landscape and its positive impact on the nation’s economy and consumer welfare.