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Stiffer fines for violators of consumer protection law

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CCF officers check the quality of sanitisers at a pharmacy in Phnom Penh on June 24. CCF

Stiffer fines for violators of consumer protection law

More than 1,000 officers from the Directorate-General of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) with increased powers are set to enforce new measures and impose stiffer penalties for businesses that break the law from July 1.

This comes after the ministries of Commerce; Justice; and Economy and Finance issued an inter-ministerial prakas on the measures on June 3.

The prakas gives officers from the National Commission for Consumer Protection and CCF more powers to impose penalties for illegal business practices nationwide.

CCF director-general Phan Oun told The Post on June 30 that CCF had appointed 627 officers as investigators while another 527 had been wielded with judicial police powers to implement the measures.

“The officers will implement the measures across the country according to the best of their abilities, practical situation and circumstances and will impose fines on offenders of the consumer protection law without exception,” he said.

He said CCF was preparing to put into practice the inter-ministerial announcement with training courses on measures and procedures for fines.

It has also provided courses for officers to raise their awareness about dishonest business practices and for producers, merchants and vendors nationwide about penalties set out in the consumer protection law before imposing fines.

“So far, CCF has performed the roles and duties of enforcing the law including the Law on the Management of Quality and Safety of Products and Services, the Consumer Protection Law and other relevant legal standards, although the inter-ministerial announcement has not yet been put into practice,” Phan Oun said.

He added that some measures have already been implemented such as a written warning, seizure and destruction of products, and building case files for court.

Economic researcher Hong Vannak said the new measures protect consumer interests while producers and importers across the country will have more confidence in operating their businesses. However, businesses have to avoid counterfeit products that are dangerous for consumers.

Law enforcement might be very difficult to implement so awareness of the new measures needs to be raised. Measures need to be implemented with integrity and transparency. Law enforcement officials need greater awareness accompanied with modern tools and methods in line with proper technology use, he said.

“Let us publicise the measures widely and do this work gradually and firmly. Avoid corruption because all this work is new. Care needs to be taken because some officials may take this opportunity not to prevent counterfeit goods, thus causing harms to consumers. This would exacerbate problems,” Vannak said.

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