ONLINE shops are heaven-sent for busy people trying to find all the items on their Christmas gift list.
But the convenience offered by these stores is affected when the sellers don’t post the prices of their items and require their customers to ask the sellers how much these cost.
The sellers would then reply “PM sent” or “PM is the key,” which means the prices would only be divulged in a private message.
Not only can this be annoying, especially for harried shoppers, it is also illegal, as Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan warned.
“Online retailers who do not put price tags on their products, and who only divulge their prices via private message (PM) to prospective buyers, are violating the law,” Libanan said.
What does the law say?
Libanan pointed out that the Consumer Act of the Philippines, or Republic Act 7394, compels all retailers to put price tags on their products for all consumers to see.
This applies to all, whether they are physical or online stores, he said.
He called on the Department of Trade and Industry to rigorously enforce the price tag requirement.
Price tag required
The law specifically states that price tags are required for items for sale.
It is considered unlawful to offer any consumer product for retail sale to the public without an appropriate price tag, label or marking publicly displayed to indicate the price of each article. These products also cannot be sold at a price higher than that stated on the tag.
In case an item is too small to hold a tag, or its nature makes using a tag impractical, the price must be placed at the nearest point where the products are displayed.
Why is it so important?
Libanan said the price tag is necessary to ensure absolute pricing transparency and to protect the public against potential pricing abuses.
The Consumer Act requires the state to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices, and to provide them with information and educaton to facilitate sound choice and the proper exercise of their rights.
Online sellers who fail to display the prices of their items can face up to six months in prison or a P5,000 fine, or both.
Repeat offenders can also have their business permits and license revoked.
The DTI has issued a warning to online sellers informing them that they cannot sell items without price tags.
It has invited the public to report and file complaints against online stores or sellers not following this requirement.
Banner photo credit: DTI Facebook page