THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Central Luzon reiterated the need for individuals and companies to provide payment options to consumers whenever they make purchases.
DTI Officer-in-Charge Regional Director Leonila Baluyut said this is part of the Department Administrative Order No. 21-03 or the “Guidelines for Payments Options on the Purchase of Consumer Products and Services,” which the agency issued recently.
Under the guidelines, all sellers, whether registered or unregistered, are mandated to provide consumers the option to pay in cash, in installment, or a combination of the two. It also states that an installment-only mode of payment is strictly prohibited.
The guidelines also specify that no additional charge should be collected if the buyer opts to pay through debit/credit/prepaid cards, quick response (QR) codes, electronic fund transfers, or other digital means available.
“For consumers who choose to pay on installment, no interest shall be due unless expressly stipulated in writing in accordance with Article 1956 of the Civil Code. The seller shall not also impose an interest rate more than the market-oriented interest rate, and must not collect an advance interest of more than a year,” the director said.
For bigger items, Baluyut said the seller is required to release documents that will show ownership of the buyer and must comply with the requirements in case of repossession of products purchased on installment.
Baluyut said these guidelines are part of the protection accorded to consumers against deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable sales acts and practices and false and misleading advertisements, under Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
Baluyut also warned violators that there is a penalty of imprisonment for a period of five months to one year or a fine ranging from P500 to P10,000 or both to those found guilty.
Meanwhile, DTI urged consumers to report similar acts to the agency so that they can verify them.
Consumers can call the DTI Hotline 1384 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the nearest DTI office. (PR)