Lawyers believe Lazada and Shopee could be fined for VND30-40 million ($1,300-1,740) for the loose administration of goods sold on their websites, causing serious consequences.
Over the last days, there have been complaints of guns being displayed on e-commerce websites like Lazada and Shopee. Specifically, a search for “m4a1” on Lazada.vn and Shopee.vn yields a lot of items related to guns and components of toyguns JinMing Gen8 M4A1 and JinMing Gen9 M4A1.
The search terms “mua gen8 m4a1” or “mua gen9 m4a1” on google.vn, one can find a myriad of websites displaying such items for sale.
These are plastic guns with the bullets made of plaster and are produced in China and are 1:1 replicas of M4A1 rifles. The websites explain that the bullets are soft and smooth and will cause no harm even if shot in the eye.
However, several videos show that these guns do pack quite a punch by puncturing beer cans at close distance or break a plastic case.
Items sold on Shopee and Lazada are advertised as add-on components to upgrade or as parts for these JinMIng guns. They are made from metal in other countries and are priced from a couple hundred thousand dongs to VND1.5 million ($10-65).
In fact, e-commerce platforms do not allow users to sell prohibited items and do keep a team to moderate content and add keywords to a “black list.” However, these items did not use the word “gun” in their names and descriptions, so they were allowed to be displayed on Lazada.vn and Shopee.vn for several days.
Customers are worried that a gun assembled from these parts could shoot plastic- or even metal bullets, causing damage.
A representative of Shopee told Zing.vn that the e-commerce platform has initiated an investigation and updated its black list of keywords after this incident. The e-commerce platform also issued penalties for vendors who sold these items.
Lawyer Ha Hai (Ho Chi Minh City) said that trading components of weapons could cause damage and violates regulations.
The Law on the Management and Usage of Weapons, Explosives and Combat Gears issued on June 20, 2017, stipulated that companies involved in the research, manufacturing, trading, import, export, transport, repair, and use of weapons, explosives, explosives precursors, and combat gears must obtain licenses and certificates issued by authorities,except for cold weapons used for exhibition and heirlooms.
According to lawyer Nguyen Thanh Ha, chairman of SBLAW, in case Lazada does not have measures to handle and prevent violations like this, the company will be open to penalties in line with the legal provisions on e-commerce operation.
According to Decree No.185/2013/ND-CP on penalties on administrative violations in commercial activities, the production of and trading in counterfeit or banned goods, Article 83 stipulates a fine of VND30-40 million ($1,300-1,740) for the failure of applying handling measures when detecting or receiving reports on trading acts which violate legal provision on the websites providing e-commerce services.
Earlier, Shopee.vn was investigated for selling a toy with a Chinese map violating Vietnam’s sovereignty. Shopee then had to get rid of the toy map showing the infamous nine-dash line that China has used to illegally claim sovereign Vietnamese territory in the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea. Moreover, these products were printed in English and Chinese language without Vietnamese translation, which violated regulations on labelling goods.
Meanwhile, Lazada receives complaints on the quality of products and services, delays in delivery, goods being different from the advertisements, delivering used/old items or the wrong articles, repudiating liability, cancelling orders, fake promotions and wrong prices, selling goods not in inventory, and abandoning customers.
In 2017, Lazada was the only e-commerce site and one of the brands along with several multi-level companies about which the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) received the largest number of complaint letters.