Consumers get one-stop advice shops

The Consumer Protection Board (CPB) will ask the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to approve its proposal to set up a national consumer protection body folding all state agencies into one centre.

If approved, the National Consumer Protection Centre (NCPC) would consist of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (Tist) and the Consumer Protection Police Division (CPPD), said CPB secretary-general Ampol Wongsiri.

The Public Health Ministry currently overseas the FDA, while Tist comes under the Industry Ministry and the CPPD is controlled by the Royal Thai Police.

These organisations carry out similar consumer protection duties and should merge into one national outfit to make their services more efficient and convenient, Mr Ampol said.

The proposal plan is part of the CPB's plan to improve consumer protection, he said, adding he has discussed the details with NCPO deputy chief Adul Saengsingkaew.

Pol Gen Adul is in charge of NCPO special affairs and oversees organisations under the Prime Minister's Office, including the CPB.

The CPB also is planning to establish a provincial consumer protection office in every province, Mr Ampol said.

This would make consumer protection work at a provincial level more accessible to the public, he said.

But he warned that a lack of funding could make it difficult to set up the offices even if the plan wins NCPO approval.

He said provincial justice offices and the Damrongtham Centre, which handles complaints against state officials, could help set up the new offices.

The CPB would deploy between three and five officers for each province, Mr Ampol said.

The most common complaints concern substandard housing or condominium construction, followed by gripes about junk SMS messages.

The majority of construction concerns related to houses, townhouses, and condominiums sold for less than three million baht per unit, he said.

Many mobile phone users are unwittingly charged 3-6 baht for opening the messages, Mr Ampol added.

The CPB plans to tackle the issue with mobile phone operators DTAC, Advanced Info Service (AIS), and True Move.

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