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DTI reminds online sellers to disclose product prices on online platforms

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Nov 26, 2021 12:20 pm

PM is the key? No it is not.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently reminded online sellers to display prices of their products as it is illegal not to do so.

“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 DTI said in its social media post.

Article 81 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines states, “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.”

The provision is in line with government policy to protect the interests of the consumer, promote the general welfare, and establish standards of conduct for business and industry.

Despite this article in the Consumer Act, there are still online sellers who do not display their prices on online platforms. Prospective buyers looking at products in these shops would often have to ask for the price of the items, which they would then receive the infamous line, "PM sent," meaning the seller sent the price in a private message.

There are also instances when online sellers post items without prices but in the caption, it would state, “PM is the key."

According to the Consumer Act, those who violate the provisions of Article 81 for the first time will be subject to a fine of not less than P200 but not more than P5,000 or by imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six month or both at the discretion of court.

Meanwhile, a second conviction will also carry with the penalty of revocation of business permit and license.

This is not the first time the DTI reminded online sellers to disclose prices of their products.

In 2020, with the rise of the e-commerce industry due to the country’s strict community quarantines, a regional office of the DTI told online sellers to make transactions “smooth” as possible by displaying their prices.

As more online businesses emerge during the pandemic, the DTI issued the national guidelines for e-commerce transactions to ensure that online sellers have the capabilities to facilitate online transactions to buyers to purchase in a safe and secure manner.

The “Pre-purchase” portion of the guidelines states, “Price(s) should be displayed with the applicable currency and product reviews, comparisons, and ratings that can be used to assist customers in making an informed decision.”

The DTI also urges the public to file a complaint on online sellers or stores that violate the law through its complaints page.