VietNamNet Bridge – Merchants, organizations and individuals when creating an electronic commerce website should give heed to its forms, the responsibility to register/notify competent state agencies, as well as the obligation to protect personal information of customers, etc.
- Forms of electronic commerce websites (hereinafter referred to as “websites“): Electronic commerce (e-commerce) activities can be conducted under the forms of sales websites (manually created by traders, organizations and individuals to serve their activities of commercial promotion, sales or service provision) or e-commerce service websites (created by merchants and organizations to provide an environment for other traders, organizations and individuals to conduct commercial activities, including e-commerce trading platform, online auction websites, online promotional websites and other types of websites prescribed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade).
- Website owners: Owners of sales websites may be a merchant with a registered business; an organization whose functions and tasks include implementing the sale of goods, provision of services or e-commerce activities; or an individual granted a personal income tax number. However, in relationship to e-commerce service websites, only merchants and organizations with registered business or suitable functions and duties are eligible to provide e-commerce services.
- The responsibility to register with competent state agencies: Owners of sales websites will not need to register but only inform the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the establishment of their sales websites. In case of failed notification, the website owners shall be fined 10-20 million VND and suspended from conducting e-commerce activities for six to 12 months.
On the other hand, owners of e-commerce service websites must register the establishment of the websites with the Ministry of Industry and Trade after the websites have been completely designed with full structure, features and information based on the scheme of service provision, and must have been working at the registered domain name before officially providing services to consumers. Those setting up e-commerce websites without competent authorities’ confirmation of registration shall face fines ranging from 20 to 30 million VND and be suspended from conducting e-commerce activities for six to 12 months in case of repeated violations or recidivism.
Note that in case where websites allow participants to sell and purchase goods by the method of Commodity Exchange, such websites must hold a Commodity Exchange Establishment License and comply with laws and regulations on Commodity Exchanges.
- The liability to publish information on websites:
Sales websites are required to sufficiently publish all information of their owner(s), goods or services, methods of payment and prices (if any) applied to the goods or services introduced on such websites.
In addition, the following information must be adequately and accurately presented on websites offering to provide e-commerce services, specifically:
E-commerce trading platforms must publicize on their websites their operational regulations, information of sellers and regimes to settle any disputes arising in the course of transaction on trading platforms, etc.;
Online auction websites must publicly, adequately and accurately notify and list all necessary information related to the goods to be auctioned, starting price and reserve price (if any), etc.;
Online promotional websites must show information related to each promotion activity on the websites, for instance: name, address, phone number and other contact details of traders, organizations or individuals offering the promoted goods and services; description of the promoted goods and service; duration of promotion; etc.;
In case of failed compliance, inadequate announcement or false provision of information required by law to be published on the websites, depending on the nature and severity of each breach, website owners are subject to financial penalties amounting from 5-20 million VND and required to rectify the false information.
- Last but not least, website owners have the responsibility to protect personal information of customers. Owners of websites that steal, use, disclose, transfer, or sell personal information of clients in e-commerce transactions without any consent of the parties involved shall be fined 30 to 40 million VND and suspended from conducting e-commerce activities for six to 12 months, and will also be compelled to refund the illegal profits gained from such violations.