Of Consumers and Door-to-Door Traders-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, April 14, 2014
IN its effort to look into reported cases of scams and trade malpractices, the field offices of the Department of Trade and Industry nationwide are looking into reports of unscrupulous door-to-door sellers that dupes consumers into buying under-weighed goods or defective products.
My source from the Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Division of DTI-CAR said that they received complaint from consumers who were sold inferior quality rice in a sack that weighed only 35 kilos. This was contrary to the representation of the seller that the rice was of good quality and that the sack was equivalent to one cavan, or 50 kilos.
Atty. Samuel D. Gallardo of the DTI-CAR Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Division explained that these are violations of the law which may be punished criminally and administratively. The act of a distributor in representing that goods or products is of a particular quality, quantity or grade when such is not the fact constitutes a violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines, as a deceptive sales act or practice according to Gallardo.
What makes this particularly disadvantageous to the consumer is that, after the sale, the consumer would not know where to look for the trader to complain, since he made the sale at the very footstep of the complainant’s house. Gallardo further elaborated that very often, the addresses on the receipts given are fictitious or that of legitimate businesses has no part in the act. According to my source, there are even door-to-door salesmen who namedrop or state that they are DTI employees in order to gain access into the homes of unsuspecting buyers.
It suggests that consumers buy their products only from reputable businesses with permanent address and have a known retail track record.
While door-to-door sales are not prohibited, these are regulated by the DTI, which requires that the sellers first secure a Home Solicitation Sales Permit before they engage in this kind of promotion. Consumers being sold in their residences are likewise encouraged to ask the sellers to present IDs to confirm their identity and the name of the establishment they represent. Without the permit and identification, consumers are strongly discouraged from making the sale.
Under Article 50 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines, an act or practice shall be deemed deceptive whenever the producer, manufacturer, supplier or seller, through concealment, false representation of fraudulent manipulation, induces a consumer to enter into a sale or lease transaction of any consumer product or service.
According to Article 50 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines, the act or practice of a seller or supplier is deceptive when it represents that: a consumer product or service has the sponsorship, approval, performance, characteristics, ingredients, accessories, uses, or benefits it does not have.
It is unlawful when a consumer product or service is of a particular standard, quality, grade, style, or model when in fact it is not and when a consumer product is new, original or unused, when in fact, it is in a deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed or second-hand state.
The Act also states that it is a form of deception when a consumer product or service is available to the consumer for a reason that is different from the fact and when a consumer product or service has been supplied in accordance with the previous representation when in fact it is not.
The Act further states that a consumer product or service can be deceptive when supplied in a quantity greater than the supplier intends or a service, or repair of a consumer product is needed when in fact it is not.
Likewise, it is unlawful when a specific price advantage of a consumer product exists when in fact it does not and the sales act or practice involves or does not involve a warranty, a disclaimer of warranties, particular warranty terms or other rights, remedies or obligations if the indication is false. When the seller or supplier has a sponsorship, approval, or affiliation he or she does not have, this is a form of deceptive act that must be reported immediately to the authorities or to the DTI. Consumers may report these acts to the nearest police stations as a violation of the Revised Penal Code, or to the DTI as an administrative case/consumer complaint. Consumers based in Baguio and Benguet can report such cases of misrepresentation and deceptive acts to the DTI-Baguio Benguet Provincial Office located at Manongdo Building, Private Road, Lower Magsaysay Ave. Baguio City.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 15, 2014.