DTI: Cellphones top pick on consumer complaints

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here said that most consumers in Central Luzon are still likely to make a complaint out of buying their cellphones than other consumer products.

This as the DTI reported that it has also recorded a decrease in the number of consumer complaints. A report from the Consumer Protection Division of the noted that in 2015, there were a total of 511 consumer complaints resolved by the seven provincial offices and one regional office of DTI.

The DTI, in a statement, said that of this total, 149 or 29 percent of resolved consumer complaints are on product and service warranties of cellular phones.

This is followed by 34 complaints on tablets, or 7 percent, while automobile products are also subject of 31 complaints, or 6 percent of the total number of consumer complaints. Other subjects of complaints resolved by DTI are household appliances and motorcycles.

DTI Regional Director Judith Angeles noted that the number of complaints have decreased from the previous year.

The DTI's statement said that in 2014, there were 538 cases brought for resolution at the different offices of DTI in Central Luzon, while in 2015 the figure only reached 511 cases. Of this total, 486 cases or 95 percent were settled through mediation while 25 cases or 5 percent passed through adjudication – a more rigorous quasi-judicial process that requires hearings and decisions to be made by the Consumer Arbitration Officer of DTI.

The decrease in number of complaints could be attributed to DTI’s efforts in providing consumer education about their rights and responsibilities coupled with the provision of mechanisms for self-resolution by establishments through their Consumer Welfare Desks and dialogues with retailers on RA 7394.

DTI officials’ commitment to the public is the resolution of consumer complaints through mediation within 10 working days and through arbitration within 20 working days. For 2015, 99 percent of the consumer complaints were resolved within these periods for both mediation and arbitration.

Among the resolved cases, DTI Bulacan ranked first in the resolution of 118 cases, DTI Pampanga followed with 82 cases, DTI Bataan resolved 67 cases, Nueva Ecija had 60 cases while DTI Regional Office had 58 cases. The provincial office of Zambales resolved 57 cases, while Tarlac had 56 cases resolved. DTI Aurora resolved seven consumer complaints, six of which were resolved through mediation.

The Consumer Protection Division (CPD) of DTI Regional Office III also reminded cellphone dealers, retailers and manufacturers to follow the provisions of Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines which provide that implied warranty for consumer items like cellphones and tablets have a minimum period of 60 days to one year.

The DTI, in its statement, also reminded the buying public to be vigilant in examining the warranty certificates, which should meet the "minimum standards for warranties" under RA 7394. The certificate should clearly stipulate the duration of the warranty, and its terms and conditions to ensure that the consumer is protected by inherent defects of the product.


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