The Hammer of Justice against the Unscrupulous Developer under the New Consumer Protection Law

Our new prime minister who graduated from Oxford with the first class honor degree in law and politics always expresses his ideology to enforce the law without double standard. In Thailand, many laws are always in the shield without enforcement. The justice can be done only by the national ideology to enforce the laws as it is wisely said that it shall be written, it shall be done.

2009 should be the year to promote the consumer awareness which is necessary as the intangible infrastructure for many foreigners who invest their hard-earned money in Pattaya. Many high profile condominium projects fail to honor their commitments.

They cannot continue the construction due to the increasing price of raw materials. Some delayed projects propose to return the money deposit to their buyers without penalty fine. But some unfortunate buyers cannot get even single baht. These gullible buyers have to suffer by having their hair cut even most of them have already shaved their hair to look sporty.

The maxim of “caveat emptor” is quite contemporary in the world dominated by money. The Madoff”s scandal shocked us by the suicide of the gullible investor who lost his money. In Pattaya, many gullible buyers are misled or steered by the unscrupulous unlicensed professional who”s fortune depends on the closure of the deal.

Most gullible buyers are misled to enter some unfair or adhesion terms in a standard contract form prepared by a developer or broker. Many buyers were advised to pay the down payment nearly or even 100%. In the sales contract which is fair, the buyer should pay only 30-40% before the completion of the project. It is the real conspiracy theory of all vultures to share the golden eggs in one basket. It is the reason you should retain your own independent lawyer who will serve you as his only one master without conflicts of interest.

All unfair clauses in the adhesion contract can be voided by the Unfair Contract Act 1997 and the Consumer Protection Act 1998.

The examples of the fair clauses in the sales contract should be that the developer will have to pay the interest including daily penalty fine and damages for delay of a construction.

In case the buyer breaches the contract, the developer cannot forfeit all down payments. The money deposit can be forfeited only for the amount paid on the signing date of the sales contract. About the transfer taxes, the buyer should pay only the transfer fee of 1%. For other details, you may search for the complete version in

The light of justice can be seen at the end of the tunnel y the enactment of the new consumer protection law which establishes the consumer protection court. In Pattaya, the Court of Justice in Thappraya becomes the Consumer Protection Court with the special measures and expeditious procedural process to remedy consumers who are unfairly treated by unscrupulous entrepreneurs.

The Consumer Protection Act 1998 protects all condominium buyers by the ministerial announcement issued in 2000 requiring condominium business to use a standard contract form drafted by the Consumer Protection Office. Most of high profile condominium projects in Bangkok use this standard form contract.

However, the situation in Pattaya is quite different by the lack of knowledge in these laws. Any developer intentionally ignores to use this standard contract form will be punishable under Section 57 of the Consumer Protection Act 1979 with the maximum imprisonment of one year or maximum fine of 100,000 baht or both. The consumer can raise all standard clauses which are fair for him.

The violation of this standard contract form is very serious. If the developer is a foreigner, you may ask your lawyer to check if he has a work permit. The complaint about his unscrupulous behavior can be reported to the labor office to revoke his work permit.

The weakness of foreigners involved with litigation in Thailand is the misconception that the Thai judicial system is bias and with red tape against foreigners. The delay of justice is the denial of justice. It can be costly for foreigners to involve them selves with the time consuming litigation process.

The Act on the Procedure of Consumer Protection Cases 2008 requires that all consumer cases must be expeditious without delay which is different from the ordinary cases in the Court of Justice which is time consuming. The Consumer Protection Court implements the inquisitorial procedure by having their officials to inspect and verify all facts and information in the cases. There are many measures to force the developer.

The developer can be summoned by the Consumer Protection Court even in the pre-trial stage of investigation.

The judicial injunction to stop the projectIn order to protect all consumers, Section 56. of the Act on the Procedure of Consumer Protection Cases 2008 opens the door of justice for any buyer who may act on behalf of other buyer to seek the injunction from the Consumer Protection Court to stop the project which may cause damage to many buyers. This injunction can be used as a hammer against the unscrupulous developer who must be seriously punished in this world and beyond. If you are misled by false information, you may use Section Sections 341, 342 and Section 343 of the Penal Code of Thailand with the maximum imprisonment of seven years against the person who provided you with false information.

Section 341.- Whoever dishonestly deceives a person with the assertion of a falsehood or the concealment of the facts which should be revealed, and, by such deception, obtains a property from the person so deceived or a third party, or causes the person so deceived or a third person to execute, revoke or destroy a document of right is said to commit the offence of cheating and fraud.

If you are wise like a serpent, you may understand the concept of these laws to knock the door of justice. However, you should not be harmless like a dove because you will become the victim of all hungry vultures in Pattaya.