Consumer Protection in Thailand
Many people while they are on holiday will buy products in Thailand to take back home with them. Here are some pointers about what to look out for terms of your rights if you buy faulty or substandard product and want to get a replacement or your money back. Remember that if you negotiate a price at a stall or corner shop and you don't have a receipt getting your money back will be difficult.Consumer Protection legislation in Thailand is quiet a new area although it is clear that when you purchase an item in Thailand it should be fit for the purpose.
Normally when you purchase an item like a lap top computer or camera it has a manufacturers guarantee and you should always make sure that is completed in the store before you take away your item.
When you buy an item you can take it back to the store and get a replacement only within 7 days of purchase. If the item is returned after 7 days you may have to wait for a replacement and will not be able to get a refund.
The manufacturer will normally try to repair your item but will replace it if it's not capable of being fixed. You should carefully check the item of the guarantee/warranty to make sure you understand what the manufacturer has agreed to do. In some cases it may be worth purchasing a special guarantee/warranty. In the event that you use the item inappropriately and it's your fault that it is broken you will invalidate the guarantee/warranty. Be aware that in many places electric surges often and this may damage electrical items.
In some cases it may be necessary to go to court to enforce your rights and this is difficult in Thailand for smaller items as there is no small claims court.
The law recently changed so that in cases where a consumer is suing because a product is defective or because for example a contact has not been completed within an agreed time frame (those with complete villas take note) you can issue a case in the court without having to pay into the court 2% of the amount of compensation or damages that you are claiming.
In practice the court will always try to settle these matters amicably without the matter having to go to trial.
In some cases where the item may have been sold fraudulently (say for the example you buy land which turns out belong to someone else or where a material fact was hidden from you such as an access issue) you may be able to get a warrant from the criminal courts. In Thailand it's possible for a citizen to start a criminal action against another citizen provided they can show there has been a criminal offence and that they are the injured party.
Always bear in mind that there may be alternative ways to solve a dispute by asking an organization like the tourist police to help mediate for you.