Consumer protection for foreigners in Thailand
Consumer protection as an alternative to juridical procedures
Under Article 57 of the Thai Constitution B.E. 2540, “the right of a person as a consumer shall be protected as prescribed by the laws.” The Consumer Protection Act 1979 protects the “consumer” against the “businessman” under certain conditions and limitations and prevents unjust and unfair competition. Thais, as well as foreigners, have the opportunity to use this strong Thai legislation as a more economical alternative to litigations at the Thai civil courts.
Thailand’s consumer protection legislation is not only applicable to routine daily business transactions, but includes foreign property investments in resort developments, villa constructions, and condo purchases as “contract-controlled business”.
Consumers, businessmen, and protection rights under the Consumer Protection Act
A consumer in the meaning of the law is
- any person who buys or obtains services from a businessman,
- a person who has been offered or invited by a businessman to purchase goods or obtain services, or
- a person who duly uses goods or a person who duly receives services from a businessman even he/she is not a person who pays the remuneration.
Businessman under the consumer protection legislation is
- a seller, manufacturer or importer of goods for sale,
- a purchaser of goods for resale,
- a person who renders services, and
- a person who operates an advertising business.
Consumer protection rights are
- the right to receive correct and sufficient information and description as to the quality of goods or services.
- the right to enjoy freedom in the choice of products or services,
- the right to expect safety in the use of goods or services,
- the right to receive a fair contract,
- the right to have the injury considered and compensated under the laws on such matters or with the provision of the Consumer Protection Act.
Complaints from the consumer who suffer hardship or injury resulting from the acts of the businessman can be submitted to the Office of the Consumer Protection Board which is attached to the Office of the Prime Minister.
The scope of protection: Fairness, advertisement, labeling, harmful products
A contract between a businessman and a consumer shall not be unreasonable disadvantageous and shall not stipulate unfair contract terms to the consumer.
An advertisement may not contain a statement which is unfair to consumers or which may cause an adverse effect on the society as a whole; that is, notwithstanding such statement concerns with the origin, condition, quality or description of goods or services as well as the delivery, procurement or use of products or services.
Goods which are manufactured for sale in the factories and products which are ordered or imported into Thailand for sale are label-controlled goods.
When there is reasonable cause to suspect that any goods may be harmful to the consumer, the businessman can be requested to have such products tested or verified.
Additional consumer protection is provided by the Unfair Contract Term Act and the Trade Competition Act. Regarding land developments, a complaint with the Land Development Commission is an additional option for the investor in real estate.
Professional services for foreign investors in Thailand’s industries and real estate
Foreigners investing in Thailand should consider the range, applicability, and coverage of Thailand’s consumer protection legislation regarding foreign investments, including
- delayed or discontinued condominium and resort developments,
- representations and warranties in villa purchases and the formation and acquisition of land holding companies,
- investments in undeveloped land, farms and other property,
- acquisitions of companies and businesses in the form of a share deal or asset deal,
- the purchase of high-value or luxury assets like yachts, supercars, etc.
PUGNATORIUS Ltd. supports and assists consumers in consumer protection cases and assists businessmen in their procedures with the Consumer Protection Board. The law firm is not the appropriate partner for low-value disputes.