Consumer activists vow to go it alone – Bangkok Post

Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.Consumer activists vow to go it alone
Protection bill snag spurs networks to act

Published: 30/04/2014 at 06:04 AM
Newspaper section: News

Impatient activists have vowed to push for the setting up of national and provincial-level councils to protect consumers’ rights after a bill calling for the establishment of an independent consumer protection body hit a snag.

Jiraporn Limpananont, chairwoman of the People’s Committee on Consumer Protection, yesterday said a recent meeting between consumer protection networks attended by over 500 people from across the country had agreed to a proposal for the establishment of consumer protection councils at national and provincial level.

The proposed councils, comprising consumer protection network members scattered throughout the country, will endeavour to safeguard consumer rights. The national council would be the coming together of the networks and its functions do not need to be governed by a bill which must go through parliament, she said.

The councils can be set up straight away. The networks are disappointed that the long-awaited consumer protection bill which activists have been pushing for more than 16 years has not yet been passed into law, Ms Jiraporn said.

The bill drafted by civic groups won Upper House approval last year. The bill was later returned to the Lower House for a final reading and became stuck there following the dissolution of parliament on Dec 9 last year.

The bill calls for the establishment of an independent body to protect consumers’ rights in several areas, such as in public services, housing, health services, finance and banking, as well as medicine and health products.

”We want to push for consumer protection at policy level as previous efforts [consumer rights violations] were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Those efforts did not focus on prevention or amendment of laws in a broader sense. Several cases are related to failure to enforce laws at several agencies,” Ms Jiraporn said during a seminar on consumer rights protection, yesterday.

Saree Ong-somwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said people face problems getting access to medical treatment in emergencies.

Recent studies found that there is inequality in gaining access to three healthcare schemes; the “gold card” free medical service for ordinary people; the government-funded service for state officials; and the Social Security Fund (SSF) for private employees.

She said the public should receive an equal and standardised health service that should also be free for all.

Holders of gold cards and state officials are not required to pay for their medical services. However, subscribers of the SSF have to pay a monthly contribution to the scheme to receive treatment, Ms Saree said.

She felt private employers who were members of the SSF should not pay for medical services under the scheme.

She called for an effective state measure requiring all public and private hospitals to accept median prices for medical services set by the National Health Security Office. All private hospitals should be asked to set aside 20% of their beds for subscribers of the three different health schemes so they can receive immediate medical treatment in case of emergencies, she said.

Ms Saree said there were several areas where consumers needed protection.

These were healthcare schemes; public transport; energy prices and the use of renewable energy; enforcing telecommunication services laws; tackling substandard construction of houses; seeking redress for defective products; and dealing with unfair loan contracts and the unethical sale of life insurance deals.

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