A bill that aims to create an Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) Bureau has been approved on second reading in the House of Representative. The bureau will regulate internet commercial activities as well as protect consumers of online transactions.

Under the bill, the E-Commerce Bureau will serve as the virtual central authority that will accept and resolve consumer complaints on online transactions.

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The bill also mandates the proposed bureau to create an online dispute resolution platform that will serve as the single point of entry for online merchants and consumers that are looking for out-of-court resolution on their cases.

Moreover, the bureau is also tasked to establish, manage, and maintain a Registry of Online Business that will give Filipinos the data and information of registered online business entities to help them verify their validity, existence, and other important information of business entities.

Also part of the bill is a code of conduct for e-commerce businesses that stipulates their obligations and responsibilities.

The bill also states that online platforms are “solidarily liable” with an online seller to the consumer only to the extent of civil damages experienced by the buyer from a transaction.

SEE ALSO: How to register your online business to DTI

It also states that online platforms have a civil and administrative indemnity liability with merchants only under these instances: first, failure to exercise ordinary diligence;  second, failure to remove goods or services not compliant with the law; permission to an online merchant not authorized to do business in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, online platforms will not be liable under the following instances: reliance on the authenticity of an online merchant’s representations, warranties or registration documents even if such information is later proved to be false, provided that the online operator is able to show evidence of good faith; and reliance on the representations, warranties or submissions of an online merchant stating that it is valid under the laws of the Philippines or conform to applicable laws, rules and regulations.

The committee report said that the goal is to “promote and maintain” a robust e-commerce environment in the Philippines and to build trust between online sellers and buyers through reliable and secure e-commerce platforms that should have “appropriate transparency and utmost efficiency to encourage the creation of new products, services, business models and processes.”

It will also establish effective regulation of online transactions to ensure that consumer rights and data privacy are protected, encourage innovation, fair advertising practices, and promote competition, secure online transactions, and respect property rights.

Via: GMA News Online



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