June 21, 2024

Tightening its watch over booming e-commerce transactions in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry warned business owners and establishments to disclose prices in compliance with the Fair Trade laws. 

The DTI Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG) urged online and physical store owners to comply with Article 81 of the Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act, which requires appropriate tags, labels, or markings that indicate the prices of consumer products sold in retail. 

Store owners must also comply with Section 5 of RA 7581 or the Price Act that stipulates 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; departments of Agriculture, Health, and Environment and Natural Resources; Intellectual Property Office;  and National Privacy Commission have recently issued Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 22-01, consolidating all rules and guidelines on online businesses.  

The provisions of JAO 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-CPG Usec. 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 7394.  

The fine ranges from P200 to P5,000 while imprisonment can last from one month to six months. – Press release