Tightening its watch over booming e-commerce transactions in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) warns business owners and establishments to disclose prices in compliance with the Fair Trade Laws.
The DTI Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG) urges online and physical store owners to comply with:
- Article 81 of the Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines which requires appropriate tags, labels, or markings that indicate the prices of consumer products sold in retail. With these, products must not be sold at higher prices than stated; and with
- Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act that stipulates that selling a basic necessity or prime commodity without a price tag is prima facie evidence of profiteering.
To strengthen the implementation of the Price Act and Consumer Act, the DTI, Department of Agriculture (DAR), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Intellectual Property Office (IPO), and National Privacy Commission (NPC) have recently issued the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 22-01, consolidating all existing rules and guidelines on online businesses.
The provisions of JAO No. 22-01 reiterate laws that apply to the establishments’ responsibility to comply with the requirements of price tags on products and services of physical and online stores.
“We are firm in enforcing these laws, especially on the requirement of price tags, to ensure consumers’ right to choose quality products at reasonable prices,” says DTI – Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo.
Several months ago, the DTI launched an online campaign against the “PM Sent (Private Message) culture.” The “PM Sent culture” is the shady practice of online sellers who send private messages to consumers inquiring on the price of a product. The campaign emphasizes that online vendors who conceal prices as a marketing strategy can be fined and/or imprisoned, according to Article 95 of RA No. 7394. The fine ranges from Two Hundred Pesos (Php 200.00) to Five Thousand Pesos (Php 5,000.00) while imprisonment can last from one (1) month to six (6) months.