June 1, 2023

The Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera is seriously looking into rampant abuses noted in online selling transactions where the consumer’s right to get the value for their money is being violated.

During the June 22 city council session, DTI-Cordillera Director Myrna Pablo said they are aware of complaints from buyers of products sold through the online platform where the items delivered are not the actual products shown in the seller’s social media page or the products are in bad state due to mishandling by the courier or the seller’s delivery partner.

She said they are crafting the guidelines that will assure those violating consumer rights are penalized.

“While we are still coming up with the guidelines, the wronged consumers may invoke the existing law. This is a clear case of violation of the Consumer Welfare Act. Many online sellers are not giving the right quality of products ordered online. Ang ganda-ganda sa picture, but the actual, it is not. It is now a serious concern on the part of DTI to look how these abuses can be penalized,” Pablo said, in response to inquiries of some councilors who shared their bad experience in ordering products online.

Pablo said online selling should be regulated, especially since it has become the mode used by consumers in shopping during the pandemic where mobility has been limited.

Councilors Fred Bagbagen and Lilia Fariñas said they were victims of online sellers that delivered to them defective and different products.

Bagbagen said he complained through the email address the seller provided, but he did not receive any response.

Fariñas said it was fortunate the online seller has a Baguio office and got a promise that the item she ordered will be replaced.

Councilor Francisco Roberto Ortega VI has asked the concerned agencies to also look into couriers delivering goods of online sellers who either change or mishandle items to the detriment of buyers’ right for quality and value for their money.

Minsan ang nangyayari is maayos ang packaging or ‘yung mismong product on the part of the seller. Pagdating sa mga nagdi-deliver na companies, doon nasisira (ang mga products). Kaya minsan ang nasisisi ay ang seller kahit maayos ‘yung packaging nila. Ibabalik ‘yung item. Ang seller ang malulugi,” Ortega said.

He added buyers and sellers should be protected, since there are also times the couriers change the items with different or less valuable ones.

“This is already our new normal, where everybody may buy online, so protection should be both sides,” Ortega said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana