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DTI tells online sellers to disclose prices of items being sold

As online buying and selling thrived amid the lockdown aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday reminded online sellers to disclose the prices of their products.

In an interview on Dobol B sa News TV, Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act stipulates that products being sold without a price tag can be an evidence of profiteering.

“May specific provision doon [sa Price Act] na magiging profiteering siya kung ang produkto ay walang nakakabit na price tag,” Castelo said.

“Kapag in-advertise or you offer it for sale tapos walang price tag, that’s profiteering,” she said.

Apart from the Price Act, Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act states that “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.”

For his part, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told GMA News in a phone interview that “under ng Price Tag Law, obliged sila o kailangan silang mag-indicate noong actual presyo.” 

“Tulad din ng pagbenta sa regular groceries or sa shelves ay may price tag. So dapat ito rin ay naka-tamang presyo. Hindi puwede yung nakuwento ninyo na piso or P12345, ganyan. Hindi puwede yon. Dapat ‘yung actual price ang i-indicate doon,” Lopez added.

He also clarified that this applies to basic necessity and prime commodities that are covered by the DTI’s suggested retail price (SRP.)

Online prices, however, do not include delivery charges or delivery fees.

Consumers may complain to the DTI via its hotline 1384, he said.

“Sa panahon ngayon, sana wala na ho munang mga magsasamantala lalo na sa consumers. Importante, magtulungan ho tayo sa panahon ngayon na may krisis tayo,” Lopez called on the public.

Decades old

Castelo, however, noted that the laws are decades old and were legislated before the e-commerce boom.

But, she said that both Price Act and Consumer Act “do not make any distinction whether it’s a physical store or a virtual store.”

“Since there is no distinction kung anong klaseng store, we apply it also to e-commerce... Ibig sabihin pati ‘yung mga online products that are on sale kailangan may nakakabit na price tag,” she said.

“Hindi ipi-PM (personal message) at hindi sikreto [ang presyo],” she said.

The DTI official advised consumers to be more vigilant and demand from online sellers the respective prices of the products being sold to be displayed. — RSJ, GMA News