Additional Changes to Thailand Condominium Advertising Regulations
Over the past few years, Thailand has seen a fairly high number of consumer disputes related to listings for the sale of condominiums. This was due to complaints made by consumers to the Office of Customer Protection Board about the actual conditions of the condominium, which did not match the quality or understanding offered in the listing by the property developers. To address this, revised regulations have been introduced to govern the advertising of condominium projects both online and offline and business operators must ensure that their advertising content complies with applicable regulations.
Previously, joint ownership advertising reporting was primarily governed by Ministerial Regulation No. 3 of 1983, made pursuant to the Consumer Protection Act 1979 (the “CPA”)1 . However, said ministerial regulations did not cover advertising statements which did not specify the detail of compliance with the National Environment Quality Improvement and Conservation Act 1992, i.e. the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.
On December 20, 2021, Ministerial Regulations Prescribing the Advertising Statement of a Product or Service that Is Unfair to Consumers or Any Statement That May Have an Adverse Effect on Society as a Whole 2021 dated November 22, 2021 ( the “Ministerial Regulation on Advertising”) was published in the official journal to replace the previous ministerial regulations. In accordance with the logic of the promulgation of the Ministerial Regulation on Advertising, the new regulation was necessary because at present there are many new technologies for the advertising of goods and services and unfair advertising would affect the benefits of the public and the consumers. The law must match these technological advances and ensure that the advertising statement is appropriate.
Typically, ministerial advertising regulations aim to integrate and combine previous regulations into one comprehensive list. This is the uniform negative list of the advertising statement of a product or service, which is unfair to consumers or may produce adverse effects on society as a whole, published in accordance with Article 22, paragraph two (5) of CPA.2
Advertising records of condominium sales
Under the Ministerial Advertising Regulations, condominium sales advertising statements can be divided into two categories as follows:
1. Condominium that has not been registered under the Condominium Laws
The advertising statement, which does not contain the following statements, will be considered unfair and may produce negative effects on society as a whole:3
2. Condominium that has been registered under the Condominium Laws
The advertising statement, which does not contain the following statements, will be considered unfair and may produce adverse effects on the company: 5
In addition, the Ministerial Regulation on Advertising requires that the advertising statement be clearly visible and legible, or that the size of the letters be greater than two millimeters for newspaper advertising or must be greater than one third of the size of the largest large banner or any similar advertisement. media, or should contain information about where customers can request more details about the advertisement.7
Any person who, in an advertisement, does not comply with the Ministerial Regulation of Advertising taken under article 22 paragraph two (5) of the CPA, will be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding sixty thousand Baht, or both.8
Further, in the event that the author is a legal person, if such fault of the legal person arises from the order or act of the director, manager or any person responsible for such legal person, or in where the person has a duty to order or act but omits from such order or act, which caused the breach by the body corporate, such person shall be liable under the provision of such breach. 9 Consequently, a shrewd commercial operator, ie a co-ownership seller, must also verify the compliance of the advertising media used by the project promoter. If non-compliant advertisements are used, they must be discontinued and corrected to ensure compliance and limit liability under these laws.
Based on the information disclosure and publicity requirements above, business operators must ensure that information disclosed and advertised is complete and accurate to avoid non-compliance. Additional information should also be available should consumers wish to obtain further details and clarification on supporting documents. The Ministerial Regulation on Advertising aims to regulate any misleading advertising information or non-disclosure, which means that consumers should be able to conclude the contract of sale and purchase of a condominium unit with sufficient information so that they can make an informed purchase decision. Compliance by economic operators, who have fully disclosed all necessary information to consumers, would also benefit justice by reducing the number of cases in the future concerning co-ownership disputes between consumers and real estate developers.