Consumer group supports bill on state regulations on payment options and secrecy of data obtained from the consumers.
In the observance of World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, 2019, Laban Konsyumer Inc. ( LKI ) a full member of Consumers International , expressed full support of House Bill 2646 titled the “Consumers and Merchants Online Protection Act” introduced in the 17th Congress by Representative Wes Gatchalian. It is a Bill providing consumers and merchants protection on online commerce and providing penalties for violation thereof.
Consumer International or CI is composed of over 200 member organizations in more than 100 countries to empower and champion the rights of consumers everywhere. The theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2019, March 15, 2019, is “Trusted Smart Products”. The Consumers International Summit 2019 will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on April 28 to May 3, 2019.
Vic Dimagiba, LKI President , came out to say that this is a very urgent bill and he wishes that it be approved as soon as possible for the benefit and protection of the welfare of the consumers as well as merchants.
Dimagiba explained “the digital age is new to many Filipinos and this may lead us to being vulnerable to abuse or attacks in the online portal. I feel that the government must do everything in its power to provide protection and security for consumers so that they can access the online portals without having to worry about their private information being exposed and shared with those who will seek to abuse the information. And thus the Department of Trade and Industry ( DTI ) should stand up and implement the changes that this bill recommends for the welfare of the consumers.”
In the declaration of policy, it was stated that “it is the policy of the State to protect the interests of the consumers, promote his general welfare and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry for online shopping. Thus we support the bill as it works towards the ultimate goal of having the State implement measures to develop and provide safety and quality standards for consumers products, against unreasonable risks or injury associated with consumers goods. We also support the bill in its quest to protect against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices, as well as provide adequate rights and means of redress.
The bill attempts to fill in the gap to protect the rights of consumers and merchants which in effect sttrengthen the online commerce. The bill seeks to address concerns on state regulations on the industry, payment options and secrecy of data obtained from the consumers, more transparency from traders and seeks to eliminate hidden transaction costs, delivery problems, cancellation of order, refund against cancellation and payment issues to mention a few. The group said “we agree with the bill in that it highlights how digital technology is fast rising and we are now seeing the emergence of mobile networks and the rapid advancement in computer technologies.”
Dimagiba said “this advancement brought us to where what Congressman Gatchalian proclaims to be the vision of Bill Gates: the center of attention for business, governments and individuals around the world. It has spawned entirely new industries, transformed existing ones, and become a global cultural phenomenon.”
But the group proclaimed that with this new state of things, the internet and the digital age has brought with itself so many new and exciting ways of doing business and marketing. The best examples of these are e-commerce and online shopping. The bill described “in the Philippines, the online shopping is on its road to a big leap. Research company Nielsen estimated that as of now, we have at least 33.6 million internet users and the number is still growing.” If approved, the Department of Trade and Industry will be the party to enforce the provisions of this act. The Department of Trade and Industry will also be the one responsible for promulgating rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this act.