Online shopping platforms should ensure the quality of the goods they sell, a party-list lawmaker on Saturday said, challenging the Department of Trade and Industry to look into this sales practice.
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles issued the statement in the wake of mounting complaints on fake electronic goods with questionable safety standards being sold online.
Nograles said he will seek a congressional investigation into the business practices of online sellers. In addition, he said the investigation will focus on on the efforts of the Department of Trade and Industry, particularly the Bureau of Public Standards to protect consumers against the malpractices of merchants who sell their goods online.
“I want to know if the BPS is doing what they can to protect the consumer’s needs or if they need a law to empower them. Further, whether such online transactions are paying the appropriate taxes,” Nograles said.
Nograles hopes that with this investigation, Congress can craft or amend a law that would regulate local online selling portals that allows third-party sellers such as Shoppee, Lazada, Zalora, Carousell, and many others because these are also possible sources of tax leakages.
“Although a lot of people feel that these online shopping portals made life a lot easier for them, there is also chance that some of their products can cause serious harm or even death to a lot of people. I’ve been reading and receiving complaints about substandard and fake electronic products being sold in these online selling portals and this should not be allowed at all,” Nograles said.
Nograles said that BPS should exercise its mandate on these online selling portals and require them to demand appropriate certifications from their third party merchants before they are allowed to post their products. Maricel V. Cruz
“We have all heard about powerbanks and mobile phones exploding because of poor quality and workmanship and, in the process, someone gets hurt or the explosion caused a fire in the neighborhood? Who would take responsibility for allowing the sale of these products?” Nograles said.
Aside from the danger posed by these products sold without any regulated quality control, Nograles said that merchants might not be paying the necessary taxes and in the long run, could shrink the country’s tax base.
“We will be in deep trouble once our traditional merchants who are dutifully paying their taxes would also join the online selling bandwagon to escape tax obligations. We are not against these online selling portals but the government should be able to collect the correct amount of tax from these companies and their merchants,” Nograles said.