Origin Fraud on E-commerce Platform Increasingly Complicated

9:38:21 AM | 23/9/2020

Up to 85% of the Vietnamese population are using the Internet, ranking 13th out of 20 countries for most internet users in the world, according to a survey by Nielsen Vietnam Company and Miniwatts Marketing Group in 2019. Given an annual growth of about 30%, e-commerce revenue in Vietnam is forecast to reach US$15 billion in 2020. As e-commerce is a fertile soil, it will be used to sell counterfeits, knockoffs, goods of unknown origin, or even prohibited goods.

E-commerce development has brought many benefits to all stakeholders, promoted economic growth, enabled consumers to buy goods conveniently at cheaper prices, helped companies diversify distribution channels, access more markets and reduce costs. Nevertheless, the ease of trading online has also posed challenges to authorities.

Mr. Tran Huu Linh, General Director of Market Management Bureau under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said, in e-commerce, buyers and sellers do not meet each other and there is no need for a physical marketplace or store. Notably, online business locations lie inside dwellings and apartment buildings, making it hard for authorities to inspect and settle. Even when the warehouse is checked and verified, it is difficult to know who the warehouse owner is.

In addition, specific evidence is needed to handle e-commerce cases. Currently, 99% of online transactions are not recorded into invoices or equivalent documents. Furthermore, online business via social networks like Facebook is not effectively controlled, especially when social networks do not have legal representatives in Vietnam. Counterfeits, knockoffs, goods of unknown origin, and intellectual property-pirated goods are publicly displayed on websites, e-commerce platforms and social networks to an alarming level. This spoils social and consumer confidence.

Recently, authorities intensified inspections into trafficking rings carrying counterfeit goods, prohibited goods, origin-unknown goods, and IP-violated goods for buying and selling on the e-commerce platform or social networks. Many violators were discovered and handled. For example, in Lao Cai and Hanoi, violators used Facebook to sell counterfeit goods and goods of unknown origin. Market watchdogs in Ho Chi Minh City seized more than 7,600 products at the Ansan Cosmetics System with signs of trading smuggled goods, counterfeit goods, goods of unknown origin.

According to the General Department of Customs, to completely handle frauds on e-commerce, it is necessary to determine the right nature and individual presence in the online environment and engage many units such as information management, network security, anti-smuggling and customs clearance inspection. Besides, it is necessary to increase the responsibility of e-commerce platform owners to sellers on it and provide more complete information.

By Huong Hau, Vietnam Business Forum