Vietnam’s market watchdog has discovered many labeling violations after inspecting three outlets of Con Cung, a retail store chain specializing in mother and baby products, in the wake of a customer complaint about its alleged dishonest practice.
The Market Surveillance Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, together with its unit in Ho Chi Minh City, on Sunday launched a prompt investigation into three Con Cung stores in the southern metropolis to verify whether the company had replaced products’ original labels with bogus ones.
After leading the inspection at the Con Cung outlet at 78 Ton That Tung Street, District 1, Tran Hung, deputy director of the Market Surveillance Agency, asserted that there were signs of infringement from the chain.
Market surveillance officers found that the labels that read “Con Cung Fashion – Made in Thailand” on some clothing items were placed on the clothes hangers, instead of being attached to the products.
The labels were therefore easy to remove and had nothing to do with the clothing products, according to officers.
The market watchdog team also checked the barcodes on those ‘made-in-Thailand’ products, but the scan results did not show any information.
The inspection team discovered the belly massage cream tubes named TiTiOne on sale at the store had two different labels.
The first stamp, which reads “Produced by: TITIONE Cosmetics Co., Ltd.”, was placed on the tube to hide the original information printed directly on the product, which says it was made by G&C Co., Ltd.
|Tran Hung, deputy director of the Market Surveillance Agency, leads the inspection at the Con Cung outlet at 78 Ton That Tung Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City on July 22, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The market inspectors also checked the Con Cung outlet at 424 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai in District 3, questioning the store manager as to why its children's eyewear products did not carry any information about their manufacturer.
The manager failed to respond to the question.
Several signs of dishonest labeling were also found at the Con Cung shop at 833 Hong Bang in District 6.
The investigation was carried out after the baby and mom store chain made headlines on Saturday, after a customer found a sign of dishonest labeling on a piece of clothing he bought from Con Cung.
Truong Dinh Cong Vinh purchased a baby girl clothing set worth VND329,000 (US$14.48) at a Con Cung outlet at 788 Au Co Street, Ward 14, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City in May.
Vinh suspects that the product had its original tag removed and replaced with a new one, which reads “CF - Made in Thailand."
Con Cung sells its clothing product line, sourced by manufacturers in Thailand, under the brand CF, standing for “Con Cung Fashion."
It is not clear what the original tag may read.
After the complaint was made, Con Cung’s head of legal department Nguyen Hong Lieu confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper about the issue on Friday afternoon, saying Vinh had purchased a ‘defective product,’ without elaborating on what the defect might be.
On Sunday afternoon, Con Cung also made an official announcement on the controversy.
The announcement on the company’s Facebook page stated that the CF G127011, or the ‘defective product’ Vinh had purchased, belonged to a batch of products manufactured by the Thailand-based International Incorporated (Thailand) Co., Ltd., through a contract signed on November 10, 2017.
|Inside a Con Cung store|
According to the store chain, all shipments under this contract have been granted the certificate of origin by the Department of Foreign Trade of Thailand.
The certificate clearly stated that all the products were manufactured in Thailand, using raw materials from Thailand and ASEAN countries.
The company also affirmed that it has all the details of the imported products, including date of shipment, date and port of entry, date of warehouse entry and date of sale, on the company's data system.
The Facbook post also said that the firm had recalled 5,928 products of the batch that the ‘defective item’ belonged to from its chain, and 3,942 purchased items from customers, regardless of the condition of the products.
It also notified customers, who bought the products, about the recall and offered them free gift vouchers via text messages.
Con Cung said that its Thai manufacturer confirmed that a ‘technical error’ occurred in the production of the finished products, but the goods still met Thai quality standards.
According to Nguyen Van Bach, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the Market Surveillance Agency, the unit will continue to inspect 100 other stores of Con Cung in the city in the future, together with the nationwide investigation set by its parent organization.