THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Davao City urged the public to ask for proof of business registration, address of physical stores or warehouse, contact details, and customer service policies when buying online.
DTI-Davao City director Rachel Remitio said this is to ensure they are transacting with legitimate online businesses.
“That is really needed because if you are an online seller and if you have an address, you have to get a business permit. Once you have a business permit, meaning the local government unit (LGU) which issued the permit has been checking on you and tax mapping on you,” she said.
Apart from that, the public should also look for the names of the contact persons and landline numbers to be able to ask for replacements in case of receiving defective or deceptive items.
“Yun talaga ang iniencourage namin. There is really a landline number because kung cellphone lang, it can be easily changed from time to time (We have encouraged the businesses to provide landline numbers because cellphone numbers can easily be changed),” she said.
Remitio said the agency receives an average of two to three complaints about online transactions.
She said more than 90 percent of the complaints are resolved because it is usually against legitimate online sellers.
“Most of the complaints are on deceptive items. What is being represented online, it is not the same item as it arrives. Usually, we facilitate mediation and if they have sent the wrong shipment, they will replace it free of shipping cost,” she said.
Remitio said some of the complaints against unregistered online sellers are forwarded to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
“Those which are not settled or those whom we cannot contact, we refer these to the CIDG because it is already a criminal offense. Hindi na siya kayang isettle administratively,” she said.
“Should the public engage in buying online, please only transact with legitimate online sellers kasi pag hindi wala na talaga kaming matulong sa kanila (because we cannot really help them),” she warned.
Remitio said they are also amenable in crafting a special law for online trade since they can only act based on the mandates of the Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.