Online selling and buying is not an unfamiliar concept towards Filipinos. When the pandemic forced us to stay at home, we also had no choice but to rely on online stores for our needs and entertainment.
However, what irks consumers are those sellers who would say, “PM (personal message) for the price” instead of directly posting the price along with the item/s. Well, this actually illegal according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The Philippines has a law proving that: Republic Act (RA) No. 7394—also known as the Consumer Act—which states that sellers are to include the prices of the products they display on their ‘store’. Products should not also be sold at a price more that what was intially stated. This is strictly mandated.
Ruth Castelo, Trade Undersecretary, also expounds that this Act is also explicit on putting up price tags for all items of both brick-and-mortal as well as online stores.
Castelo stated that the lack of a price tag comes down with the offense of profiteering. This means an illegal act of price manipulation.
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The Act has actually been around even before online shopping became a ‘thing’ as physical shopping should also contain price tags before being displayed on your local supermarket or department store.
What comes with violating this law? A fine ranging from Php5,000 up to Php2 million. Offenders may also be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 15 years.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) sees online shopping as the possible future of commerce in the country, especially when no one knows what the pandemic is capable of changing globally.
NEDA also admits that laws like the RA No. 8972—known as the Electronic Commerce Act—still needs to be more comprehensive with details such as the rights of the consumers and penalties for violators.