On December 20, 2022, Myanmar’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) announced rules for recalling dangerous goods and temporarily or permanently halting the sale and distribution of dangerous goods and services. This announcement was made with DCA Directive No. 3/2022, which was posted to the department’s official website on January 5, 2023.
Goods that can cause minor damage to consumers must be recalled. This includes goods that:
- Have potentially dangerous design flaws that were not clear at the time of manufacture but that can manifest during use of the goods;
- Have defects from the manufacturing process, transportation, or storage before their distribution;
- Have faults and defects that prevent use; or
- Do not comply with the relevant safety standards for dangerous goods.
Sales and distribution of goods or services that cause major damage to consumers (short of death) will be banned temporarily in addition to their recall. Business owners must recall such goods within the period specified by the DCA, which decides on recall and temporary or permanent ban of dangerous goods and services under Myanmar’s consumer protection regulations.
If goods or services can lead to or cause the death of consumers, sales and distribution of the goods or services will be banned permanently, and business owners must recall any existing goods within the period specified by the DCA.
Procedures for DCA-Ordered Product Recall and Temporary or Permanent Ban
Business owners are responsible for taking the actions described above within the specified period, and officers from the DCA office in the respective state or region can inspect businesses to ensure compliance with procedures for recalls and temporary or permanent bans. The inspector will verify that the relevant goods are recalled from the market in line with the specified period and in accordance with any other specific requirements on a case-by-case basis (such as a product recall in conjunction with provision of information to remedy the damage). The business owner must then inform the applicable DCA office in writing or electronically when the recall process or temporary or permanent ban of goods or services is complete. If business owners do not report back on the progress, the office will inform the Consumer Affairs Committee with jurisdiction over the business’ geographical region.
Businesses that have dangerous goods in the market must also inform the business partners in their whole supply chain (e.g., importer, exporter, retailer, wholesaler, installment seller, distributor, installer, maintainer, manufacturer, intermediary service provider, service provider, etc.) of the recall action plan in writing or electronically.
The business owners must then recall the goods from the market and from consumers. In summary, the recall process includes:
- Stopping distribution and manufacture of the goods;
- Removing the goods from the market;
- Planning the recall strategy;
- Informing relevant government departments;
- Announcing to consumers and recalling any goods that are already in the hands of consumers;
- Informing supply chain partners of the action plan set by the department;
- When goods are made for export, informing the relevant parties in the places where the goods are sold; and
- Informing the DCA when the recall process is complete.
After this recall process, the business owner must:
- Investigate the goods that were recalled or temporarily banned;
- Systematically store or destroy the relevant goods;
- Remedy the consumer damages; and
- For dangerous goods, inform the headquarters of the goods’ manufacturer and obtain its acknowledgment as evidence.
Businesses must also provide consumers and supply chain partners with refunds equal to the value of loss, substitute, or return of the goods to be repaired. If goods are difficult to send back, businesses must send a service agent to the consumer’s home or the location of the item. Businesses are also responsible for delivering substitute goods or parts to consumers.
To initiate a voluntary recall, business operators must present the DCA with various information about the goods and their distribution, the potential danger and damages, the recall strategy and communication plans, and other particulars. The respective DCA office will then decide on the duration for the recall process, with the approval of the DCA, and will supervise the recall. Upon the completion of the recall process, the business owner must provide a comprehensive report and supporting evidence to the respective DCA office.
If goods have been repaired and are ready to resell or redistribute to the market after a voluntary or DCA-ordered recall, the business owner must submit—following the specified forms—information on the recall and repairs to the respective DCA office. Business owners reselling goods without first making the necessary report will be reported to the respective Consumer Affairs Committee and may face legal action.
Recalls and Bans of Specially Regulated Goods or Services
If dangerous goods or services that necessitate a recall or ban are subject by law to regulation by any government department or organization, the DCA will transfer the case to the respective government department or organization. If that government department or organizations does not have the capacity to handle the necessary recall or ban, the relevant authorities will cooperate to protect consumers.
Public Recall Announcements
The DCA will provide consumers with clear information on recalls and bans of dangerous goods via public announcement on the DCA website, the website of the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection, or any official partner of the DCA.
Separately, business owners must also announce certain information regarding the dangerous goods or services to consumers via at least three channels (i.e., “media,” television, radio, newspaper, journal, and magazine) for three consecutive days.
For further information, please contact:
Yuwadee Thean-Ngarm, Partner, Tilleke & Gibbins