CSBC Law Offices and affiliate a prestigious full service local law firm with a global outlook and strong international links 
Tool: Bookmark CSBC as Your FavoriteSend Us MailContact Us

Thai Law Insights

Right of Suit by a Consumer Protection Association Under Thai Law, in a Nutshell

Nawin Mansai

nawinm@csbc-law.com

Introduction

The new salient provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 1979, as amended, are that any association approved by the Board of Consumer Protection (“BCP”), has the right to represent consumers in civil and commercial proceedings. Additionally, the association has the right, upon production of a power of attorney from its members, to sue in court for damages. Another new Thai law, the Consumer Procedural Act of 2008, clarified that any association certified by the BCP has the right to represent the consumer at all levels of court proceedings, from petitioning the court for damages to receiving an award on behalf of the consumer. As such, the consumer is not accountable for any court fees except for such fees arising from the court’s final judgment.

Consumer Protection Association-Basic Criteria

The BCP will only approve an association that has complied with the rules and regulations set by the BCP. These rules and regulations concern the association’s establishment and makeup.  For example, the overall membership must be at least two-thirds Thai nationals and, at least two-thirds of the directors must also be Thai nationals.  At general meetings, an elected member of the board of consumer protection must be present. Furthermore, for an approved association to petition the court on behalf of a consumer or its members, the Association Committee must elect an individual with a minimum qualification of a bachelor degree in law to oversee and consult on matters of law.

Consumer Right of Suit Aftermath

After the court has accepted the association’s petition, the association must notify the BCP in writing within 7 days. Once the court has given a verdict on the case, the association must provide the BCP with a copy of the court’s verdict within 7 days of the ruling. In the situation where the association wishes to rescind the petition, the association must notify the BCP at least 7 days beforehand. In such case, the association has no right to demand consideration from the consumer except for such consideration as required to settle any court fees.

Approval for a Consumer Protection Association

An association seeking the BCP’s approval to represent a consumer in a court, must file an application to the Board of Consumer Protection Office (“BCPO”). Once the BCP has evaluated and investigated the applicant and determines that the applicant has complied with the rules and regulations and should be approved, the name of the association, along with the names of all of the directors of the association, will be submitted to the BCPO. This information will be broadcasted on the radio for the period of 3 days. If no one objects within the said period, the BCP will approve the application and issue a certified document of approval to the applicant.

Class Action initiated by a Consumer Protection Association

The right of suit conferred upon a Consumer Protection Association is similar to a class action in the US or UK legal systems. This right of suit is to assist any Thai or non-Thai consumer in exercising their rights in court for the benefit of aggrieved consumers at large. Formation of an association for consumer protection is now a viable choice for consumers under Thai law.