House of Representatives Minority Leader Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan recently stated a strong warning against online sellers who fail or intentionally do not put price tags for their products on e-commerce sites.
Photo credit: Porapak Apichodilok
“Online retailers who do not put price tags on their products, and who only divulge their prices via private message (PM) to prospective buyers, are violating the law,” he stressed in a statement on Dec. 21. The reminder is particularly relevant during this period of last-minute holiday online shopping.
“The law compels all retailers, under pain of penalties, to put price tags on their products for all consumers to see. This applies to all retailers, regardless of whether they are selling online or in physical stores,” Libanan said.
Libanan, a lawyer by profession, also said that under the Consumer Act of 1992, a product cannot be sold at a price higher than what is indicated in the price tag.
“In order to protect consumers, we would urge the Department of Trade and Industry to rigorously enforce the price tag requirement,” Libanan said. He added that, under the law, retailers are prohibited from offering any product for sale to the public without a price tag in pesos and centavos.
Buyers are now being asked to be wary of online retailers, including those selling through social media platforms, who display their products for sale without price tags, and merely provide photos of their products along with incomplete details, and then wait for consumers to ask for the price of the item they are interested in buying.
Strong warning backed by law
When consumers openly ask for an item’s price, the retailers would then reply with: “PM sent.”
Libanan said Congress passed the Consumer Act, or Republic Act No. 7394, to ensure absolute pricing transparency and to safeguard the public against potential pricing abuses. Under the 30-year-old law, Libanan said violators of the price tag rule can face up to six months in prison, or a fine of up to P5,000, or both, at the discretion of the court. Repeat offenders can face revocation of their business permits and licenses.
If you do encounter online sellers who refuse to divulge the prices of their wares up front, you can report the account to the social media platform (i.e. Facebook), or file a consumer complaint with the Department of Trade and Industry Fair-Trade Enforcement Bureau by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, cc email@example.com when you send your complaint. (Story courtesy of the Philippine House of Representatives)