202P.O. Box 1161, QCCPO, NCR, Philippines 1100
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Facebook: Laban Konsyumer Inc.
Website : www.labankonsyumer.com
October 16, 2020
PRESS RELEASE 2020-069
CONSUMER GROUP RAISE COMPETITION ISSUES OVER SM STORE AND LAZADA ONLINE PARTNERSHIP
Consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) and President Atty. Vic Dimagiba, in defense of consumer welfare as well as micro, small and medium enterprenuers wrote the Philippine Competition Commissioner today and stated “we would like to raise issues and concerns regarding our previous thoughts on Anti-Trust issues in online selling platforms. We believe our concerns are taking place and happening now “.
The letter is as follows:
October 16, 2020
The Chairman and Members
Philippine Competition Commission
25/F Vertis North Corporate Center 1,
North Avenue, Quezon City 1105
Email: commissioners @phcc.gov.ph
Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) and President Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba would like to raise concerns regarding our previous thoughts on Anti-Trust issues in online selling platforms.
In the hearing held on October 1, 2020 on two ( 2 ) Senate Bills relating to Internet Transactions Nos. 1591 and 1808 , among others , we submitted our written recommendation which was placed on record of the virtual hearing , where we proposed to add a provision that shall authorize the Philippine Competition Commission to investigate and enforce under the Competition Act any commission of acts by the Online Selling Platforns, merchants and third party suppliers that may violate the Competition Law to the prejudice of the consumers.
We believe our concerns are taking place and happening now. We are calling out the recent moves of Lazada Philippines and SM Store that can reduce and lessen the competition, making life more difficult and business harder for the micro, small and medium merchants during this already painful period of pandemic and quarantine. LAZADA announced you can buy online from SM Store through their website.
One may ask what this means: we know we can buy anything from SM Store just about whatever you need, really. And what happens to the merchants in the platform that are selling similar items. These businesses may find themselves marginalized and put in a tough situation, as the mega corporate entity SM will dominate the market now with these developments.
We are asking if this is a form of easing out honest to goodness competition and lessening choices to consumers. Maybe it may improve consumer complaints dispute resolution as SM Stores have established consumer welfare desks and most of them are Bagwis awardees (seal of excellence).
To Laban Konsyumer, this partnership will substantially lessen competition in the LAZADA online platforms to the prejudice of merchants who are basically Micro, Small and medium businesses or enterprises.
On an even bigger and macro-scale: Our group is raising the alarm if this is a prelude to SM taking over Lazada Philippines. This may be a manner to preempt the Internet Transaction Bill, and what a manner that will be. We believe that this matter must be investigated moto proprio so as to stop any invasion or control of the market as soon as possible.
We hope for your swift action and response to our concerns being raised, as this is a concern for all consumers, their welfare and their ease of burden during this challenging pandemic.