Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual on Thursday ordered the country’s two major e-commerce platforms to submit an explanation on recent cases of deceptive, unfair, fraudulent and unconscionable online sales practices.
“We received a report regarding scammers and sellers of defective, fake and pirated products in e-commerce platforms. I have already issued a letter addressed to two big e-commerce platforms for them to remove unregistered and unlicensed online merchants. Following numerous notifications, they were given 72 hours to explain,” Pascual said in a statement.
He said the DTI was undertaking appropriate measures to intensify the campaign against fraudulent sales practices, particularly in the virtual sales platform.
“I assure Filipino consumers that we are here to promote and protect their welfare and make sure that these sellers will be made accountable. As we promote the use of e-commerce platforms, we want to make sure that these spaces will be safe for consumers,” Pascual said.
The report received by the department indicated that several consumers lodged complaints against various online sellers of fake, defective or undelivered parcels.
The DTI said sales malpractice is a criminal offense under Republic Act Nos. 7394 and 8293, and Joint Administrative Order No. 22-01, Series of 2022 or the Guidelines for Online Business Reiterating the Laws and Regulations Applicable to Online Businesses and Consumers.
Pascual urged e-commerce platforms to immediately address the concerns of consumers who fell victim to deceptive sellers and seriously adhere to the prohibition against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable online sales and practices.
Meanwhile, the DTI is also enforcing tighter monitoring of vape shops across the National Capital Region to ensure that the restrictions on the sale of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products are strictly implemented under Republic Act No. 11900 also known as “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act”.
The DTI’s field monitoring team reportedly visited 9,167, including 583 physical stores and 28,584 online stores. The Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau, a unit under the Consumer Protection Group of the DTI, will continue to closely monitor vape stores.
“We aim to balance the interest of both businesses/manufacturers and also protect our youth from these harmful substances,” Pascual said.
The department said of the 583 physical stores monitored, 229 were found compliant to the prohibitions and regulations, while 214 were found non-compliant.
About 175 of 28,584 online stores were found to be compliant after physical validation. About 28,409 were non-compliant, and the DTI said it is assessing the validation report for 26,986 online stores.