It’s not a secret that some items being sold in Lazada, Shopee, and other e-commerce websites are fake or counterfeit. This is due to the large number of individual resellers posting on their platforms.
But last Thursday, Philippine Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that online shopping apps should be held liable for the aforementioned fake items that are being sold on their platforms.
Gatchalian claims that this move would boost the government’s efforts to chase after the products that could be dangerous to people’s health.
The government should craft a mechanism that would force online shopping companies to ban unscrupulous sellers — Gatchallian commented after the panel tackled his Bill 1591, which aims to regulate e-commerce websites in the Philippines.
Gatchalian highlighted that these platforms are working in self-regulation, which is not effective as there are still counterfeits that manage to get past them.
He added that these online platforms — referring to two of the biggest platforms in PH, Lazada and Shopee — aren’t incentivized to take on illegal items as they also make money out of them since they get a cut on every good sold.
With Gatchalian’s bill, online merchants and platforms that will sell fake or unregistered items will pay a fine that’s equivalent to the sold item.
Platforms and sellers who also fail to provide complete details of their stores and products may face a fine between Php500,000 to a whopping Php5,000,000. The court may also decide to have their business permits revoked.
The Philippines already have existing laws that would take on fake items. Albeit, it doesn’t cover overseas sellers — which what most these online platforms are from. Gatchalian said that the responsibility to check the credibility of the sellers will be the platform’s.
In a Senate hearing, Lazada CEO Ray Alimurung said that they had been regulating its sellers. But, due to a large number of items being sold on their platform — around 50 million — it’s no surprise that some items can get past their system.
Alimurung expressed that it’s not for the lack of doing things. “It’s just a matter of us trying to do better mouse traps when these guys try to develop better mice,”. Shopee said that they use the same mechanisms.
Albeit, the Optical Media Board (OMB) stated that around 900,000 unlicensed and permit-less are still being sold in the two shopping apps.
Gatchalian said that they didn’t want the country to be a dumping ground of illegal products and expressed that e-commerce platforms are not doing enough.
Source: ABS-CBN News