The Department of Trade and Industry had no kind words for online sellers that are not unfront about prices of goods they are selling.
On November 25, DTi issued a meme-like graphic suggesting sellers who ask potential customers to send personal messages instead of displaying prices are “evil.”
It referenced a previous popular meme called “evil be like” trend wherein photo negatives of pop culture figures revealed their opposite or “dark” counterparts.
“Don’t be an evil seller! Tandaan na ipinagbabawal ang pagbebenta ng anumang produktong walang price tag, label, o marking ayon sa Article 81 ng Consumer Act o RA 7394,” the agency said.
It also encouraged the public to report violators through its online complaints page.
“Kung may alam na mga online stores o sellers na lumalabag sa batas na ito, ipaalam sa DTI at maghain ng reklamo. Pumunta lamang sa bit.ly/DTI_ComplaintsPage para sa kumpletong impormasyon,” DTI said.
The provision that the department cited in the post states the requirement of price tags to be displayed to any consumer product being sold in the market.
“It shall be unlawful to offer any consumer product for retail sale to the public without an appropriate price tag, label or marking publicly displayed to indicate the price of each article and said products shall not be sold at a price higher than that stated therein and without discrimination to all buyers.”
DTI also issued the same warning to all online sellers in June of last year, which was a few months since the coronavirus pandemic started.
Most Filipinos resorted to the digital marketplace both for selling and buying goods amid the still tough lockdowns being implemented in most parts of the country during that time.
However, due to the sudden boom in the e-commerce industry, Filipino customers soon found the lack of strict regulations in some online shopping websites.
Complaints about these online stores and websites poured in the comments section of DTI’s post.
Social media users also criticized the agency for its poor performance in implementing regulatory laws.
“Ang dami sa Facebook Marketplace at sa Carousell. People won’t bother to report this lalo na at sila pa ang maaabala. You need to be more proactive,” one user said.
“Sa totoo lang hindi nman din kasi sila napaparusahan.. Hahaha! Check niyo mga PLANT GROUPS…ang daming PM is the key…At laging reply ng mga sellers PM sent sa mga buyers na nag tatanong kung how much binibenta nila,” another user added.
Some told the DTI to check merchants who display a deceptive rate of P0.00 for goods on Facebook Marketplace.
“Tumingin kayo sa FB ang dami nyo mahuhuli… ba’t kailangan pa may magreport bago kayo kumilos?” one user said.
Others, meanwhile, shared the side of the seller.
“PM sent is a way to generate leads. Pag nag message na yung customer, it means more often than not interested siya sa product. Pwede niyo pagusapan yung price,” one user said.