WITH the resumption of classes drawing near, the regional office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its “Gabay sa Presyo ng School Supplies” campaign is doing a more stringent price monitoring on all office and school supply items in the market bent on achieving a zero Consumers’ Act violation record for this year.
Engineer Vedastito C. Galvez, Consumer Protection Services Division head, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao, said that as of Friday, May 27, no violation has been recorded in the region as far as following the Suggested Retail Prices (SRPs) on all prices of school supplies in the region.
“With our intensified price monitoring in the region, all establishments monitored are compliant to the SRPs since May 17 when SRPs were downloaded to us,” he said.
He added that for last year, DTI-Davao through its Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau recorded no complaints on SRP violations on school supply items in the region. The DTI-11 is expecting the same scenario for this year.
“So far last year, there were no complaints, we also expect none this year,” Galvez said.
DTI-Davao usually conducts monitoring on office and school supply items every May to June of the year when SRPs are downloaded. The prices of school supplies are generally stable as majority of the items retained their prices last year.
“Since these are seasonal items, we usually monitor these during May and June when SRP are downloaded, for major trading areas like Davao city, we do it weekly; for non-major trading areas, just once a month,” he said.
Earlier this month DTI has issued the list of SRP for school supplies to serve as guide for consumers so they could could canvass on different brands of school materials and not fall as victims to overpriced items caused by abusive resellers.
The SRP list covers different brands of school supplies including composition notebooks, writing notebooks, spiral notebooks, pad papers for Grades 1 to 4, intermediate pad papers, crayons, pencils, ballpens, erasers and sharpeners, among others.
The SRP list notes that the price of an 80-page notebook ranges from P11 to P31, while different brands of an eight-piece box of crayons range from P8.75 to P21.75.
Prices of ballpens range from P4.00 to P31.75.
“We urge consumers to be critically aware of the price and quality,” Galvez said adding that the budget should not compromise product safety and reliability while also emphasizing that the school supplies should conform with standard requirements for performance and safety to provide best value of the consumer's money.
Meanwhile, DTI has continued to conduct regular monitoring on the prices and supply of office and school supplies. The agency also encouraged establishments to post the SRPs of different school materials for the information and reference of the public.
“Retailers found to be selling above the prices indicated in the “Gabay sa Presyo ng School Supplies” will be issued with Show Cause Orders (SCOs) to have them explain on the high prices of their products within 48 hours,” DTI said.
This is pursuant to DTI Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 06, Series of 2007, “retailers found to be selling at very high prices can be imposed with an administrative fine of P20,000.00 to a maximum of P1,000,000.00 while criminal penalties under the Price Act include imprisonment from five (5) up to 15 years.”
Consumers can report overpricing retailers by calling DTI Direct 751-3330 or 0917-834-3330.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 28, 2016.
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