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Section: General News - Bangkok Post Tougher product liability laws aims not only to protect consumers but also could improve Thai living standards.
Has this happened to you? You bought canned fish from the supermarket and got a stomachache after eating it. You took a flight from an airport without a scanning service for dangerous devices before boarding? You purchased an iron and found later that it did not function as claimed in the advertising? The solutions in the old days were to ignore the problem, saying mai pen rai (never mind) to yourself, or buying some painkiller to relieve the ache, or going back to the same store to claim a replacement.
There are now new ways to protect your rights.
The Unsafe Goods Liability Act (Product Liability Law), which took effect on Feb 20, allows consumers to lodge complaints against manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and others in the distribution chain if an unsafe or defective product caused physical harm to their lives, safety, health or properties.
This law, along with the Consumer Case Procedure Act, which came into effect in August last year, affects both Thai and foreign business operators.
Consumers have two alternatives to take legal action against irresponsible product makers. They can go directly to the civil court to lodge a complaint and court officers will help them proceed. Or they can ask the Consumer Protection Board to initiate a case on their behalf.
The legislation puts the burden of proof on the manufacturers, not the consumers, to show that their product is not defective. Moreover, the legal proceedings will be faster than in the past because the hearing process will be kept punctual and manufacturers will not be allowed to seek postponements.