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Philippines Consumer Protection Law
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We are in the world surrounded by monstrous capitalism and giant business industries which care for their profit most of the time.  You might be an ordinary or poor individual who consumes products, or services from these businesses. But sad to say, you might be among of those many people who just zipper their mouth despite being a consumer victim. The reasons might be; you are poor, uneducated,  hesitant or unaware. Should you keep silent inspite of damaging your rights from these businesses? No, because as a consumer, you have the rights protected by law. What is the law for the protection of the consumer especially here in the Philippines? And what steps to take if your consumer rights are damaged? All these are to be answered in this article. To clarify some difficult words and phrases, I'm providing a short definition of them in order for you to better understand.


What's the law in the Philippines that protects you as a consumer?

The law that safeguards and protects the consumers in the Philippines is the Republic Act 7394 (R.A. 7394).

What is Republic Act 7394?


Republic Act 7394 (RA 7394) is the "Consumer Act of the Philippines" which was promulgated on July 15, 1992. It is the policy of the State to protect the interest of the consumer, promote his general welfare and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry.

What are the objectives of the RA 7394 or otherwise known as "Consumer Act of the Philippines?

  • Protection of consumers against hazards to health and safety;
  • Protection of consumers against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices; ("unconscionable" means not right, not reasonable or not guided by conscience)
  • Provision of information and education to facilitate sound choice and the proper exercise of rights by the consumer;
  • Provision of adequate rights and means of redress ("redress" means remedy or to set right <an undesirable or unfair situation>);
  • Involvement of consumer representative in the formulation of social and economic policies.
What government agencies in the Philippines implement the "Consumer Act of the Philippine" and what are their areas of concern?

The following agencies implement the Consumer Act:
  • Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
DTI handles the following areas of concern:
  1. Consumer Products and Service Warranties
  2. Consumer Product Quality and Safety
  3. Deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices
  4. Price Tag
  5. Weights and measures (metrication)
  6. Labeling and Packaging
  7. Advertising and sales promotion
  8. Liability for Products and Services
  9. Service and repair shops
  • Department of Agriculture (DA)
  1. Agricultural Products
    • Quality and Safety
    • Labelling and Packaging
  • Department of Education (DepEd)
    1. Consumer education and information
  • Department of Health (DOH)
  1. Food, drugs, cosmetics and devices and hazardous substances
    • Quality and safety
    • Price Tag
    • Labelling and Packaging
    • Advertising & Sales Promotion
  • Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
    1. Consumer credit transactions extended by banks and other financial intermediaries
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
    1. Credit facilities extended to consumers by financing companies
When is the Consumer Act applicable?
             
The Act is applicable if:
  • the COMPLAINANT is a natural person;
  • the SUBJECT of the violation is a consumer product or service; and
  • the NATURE of the complaint is regarding any of the aforementioned concern
What is consumer product or service?
             
Consumer product or service means goods, service and credits, debts or obligations which are primarily for personal, family, household or agricultural purpose, which shall include, but not limited to food, drugs, cosmetics and devices.
             
What should a consumer do if he/she has a complaint?
  • Identify the problem. Create a fair settlement. Would any of the following options do:
    • money back (Refund)?
    • product repair (Repair)?
    • exchange or change item (Replace)?
  • Gather documentation as much as you can regarding your complaint. Examples of documents you can gather are sales receipts, warranties, repair orders, contract/agreement, cancelled checks, or any document which will support the complaint. These documents will serve as your evidence or proof.
  • Go back to the store or office where you made the purchase. Talk to the person who sold you the product or service. Be calm and accurate in telling the problem and what steps should be taken in order to solve the problem. If that person irritates you and doesn't help, talk to the supervisor or manager and tell your complaint. A huge percentage of consumer problems are resolved at this level.
  • If you are not satisfied with the support, write a formal letter of complaint to the concerned government consumer protection agencies in the Philippines mentioned above.
    • In the letter, indicate your name and address; the name and address of the establishment against whom you are complaining; the circumstances regarding the complaint including names, places and dates etc.. Enclose supporting documents such as official receipts, deed of sale and the like. And be prepared to make a personal appearance when called, especially during the mediation conference.
How long can a consumer file a complaint?
             
Within 2 years starting from the time the consumer transaction happened (when the deceptive or unfair transaction took place).
             
To whom does a consumer file a complaint?
             
In the Provincial Office. The administrative complaint shall be filed in duplicate with the Provincial Office having jurisdiction over the subject of the complaint. In areas where there are no Provincial Offices, the complaint shall be filed in the Regional Office.

In cases where the complainant and respondent are situated in different provinces, the complainant has the option to choose the place where to file the complaint. The civil/criminal action shall be filed with the appropriate regular courts (Municipal Trial Court/Regional Trial Court).

What are the remedies available to consumers?

For Administrative Proceedings:
  • replacement or repair of product or services
  • reimbursement to complainant of amount spent in pursuing the complaint
  • refund of payment made
  • restitution or rescission of contract
For civil/criminal action
  • civil action
  • refund of payment made
  • award of damages
  • restitution or rescission of contract
  • replacement or repair of product or services
  • reimbursement to complainant of amount spent in pursuing the complaint
  • criminal action - defendant, if found guilty by the court can be sentenced to imprisonment or payment of fine or both, at the discretion of the court.
What are the advantages of filing complaint before the implementing agencies (administrative proceedings)?
            
The advantages are:

          o You can save more money and time in mediation/arbitration.
          o You can avoid more hassles. Complainant need not undergo the rigors and expense of a court case

How are consumer complaints resolved?
            
Complaints are resolved through:
  • The implementing agency where the complaint is filed, after jurisdiction is determined, will call the parties for mediation conference and find ways for amicable settlement.
  • If no amicable settlement is arrived at, the complaint will be scheduled for preliminary conference for the parties to enter into stipulation of facts or arrive at simplification of issues.
  • Formal hearing will be conducted by the Arbitration Officer and decision will be rendered.
  • Decision of the Arbitration Officer is appealable to the Secretary of the concerned Department within 15 days from receipt of the decision.
  • Decision of the Department Secretary is appealable within 15 days from receipt of the decision to the Intermediate Appellate Court or the Supreme Court on the following grounds:
  • There is grave abuse of discretion.
  • The decision rendered was in excess of jurisdiction or authority of the Arbitration Officer
  • The decision is not supported by evidence or there is serious error in findings of facts.
What administrative penalties can be imposed upon establishments found to have violated any of the laws covered by the Consumer Act?

Administrative penalties that can be imposed are:
  • The issuance of a cease and desist order, provided, however, that such order shall specify the acts that respondent shall cease and desist from and shall require him to submit a report of compliance therewith within a reasonable time;
  • The acceptance of a voluntary assurance of compliance or discontinuance from the respondent which may include any or all of the following terms and conditions:
  • an assurance to comply with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations;
  • an assurance to refrain from engaging in unlawful acts and practices or unethical trade practices subject of the formal investigation;
  • an assurance to comply with the terms and conditions specified in the consumer transaction subject of the complaint;
  • an assurance to recall, replace, repair or refund the money value of defective products distributed in commerce;
  • an assurance to reimburse the complaint out of any money or property in connection with the complaint, if any, and to file a bond to guarantee compliance therewith.
  • Restitution or rescission of the contract without damages;
  • Condemnation and seizure of the consumer product found to be hazardous to health and safety, unless the respondent files a bond to answer for any damages or injury that may arise from the continued use of the product;
  • The impositon of administrative fines in such amount as deemed reasonable by the Secretary, which shall in no case be less than Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) nor more than Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000.00) depending on the gravity of the offense, and an additional fine of not more than One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) for each day of continuing violation.

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Total comments: 9
9 butch   (08-July-2015 10:29 AM)
re food market / bazaar business.
does a competitor have the right to ban a vendor to join other bazaars? also to threaten them that ,if they join, they will be removed if they join another bazaar?

8 Nexter Rumbaua   (17-May-2015 1:09 AM)
Are customer service complaint or complaint against a store crew regarding rudeness and uncouth behaviour towards customers part of the consumer protection act? Thank you.

7 Myrine Austin   (22-August-2013 4:35 PM)
Dear Sir/Madam:

I really don't know where should I file a complaint with our former company regarding on an insurance claim of my late brother. I was speaking to the Insurance company and to the insurance broker and both are agreeing that we can claim the check as a whole no need to divide it into 3 as being advised by the company all they would need is a go signal from the company to release the check. I contacted the HR Department of the company and they said that it is a company policy to divide. We did not file any enrollment form and the insurance claim is part of our benefit. The company said it was advised by their company lawyers. We are really devastated and disappointed and we do not know what to do. Please help.

6 Anna   (21-July-2013 7:58 AM)
Good morning,

I have an ongoing issue with my internet provider and I have exhausted all the possible means to get my issue resolved including contacting their customer service department though email, phonecall, Facebook and Twitter. It's been more than a month and I am not getting any resolution. I am getting a ran around and I would like to take this issue to a higher level.

To whom should I reach out to file a complaint against this company? I am from Cavite.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Anna

5 sameh kamal   (15-April-2013 3:30 AM)
I bought this Emaial dplofranco@gmail.com Telphone09435698120 ( 10 )box and agreed with him that will be shipping to DHL only and take of Visa every price including the price of shipping Fajsam $ 395 and then after a request from $ 45 again for shipping to DHL asked him deducted from Visa said to me, does not workHe asked that sent them through Western Union I told him that conversion through Western Union detained and is now in Egypt suggested to buy 10 others on behalf of another to be able to shipping to DHL I agreed and discount $ 395 others and then gave me excuses and excuses for not shipping on DHLwas asked to return the money, he said to me that to return the money it will take 30-45 days was no longer Will I small children

4 Chris   (16-February-2013 6:47 PM)
i have recently mooved to cebu and i was living in makati. i gave two months advance and two months deposit in manila for the condo were i stayed in makati. i have left now and am having problems getting my deposit back. They are putting crazy prices on fixing small things and pretty much making sure that we dont get our deposit back. For example 3 months after we mooved in the freon in the aircon went out we were told it was not their responsibility to fix it so we fiuxed it our selves and even the other aircon in the bedroom because they did not want5 to pay for it. was not a problem. now that we have left the place they are tellin us we need to pay for the cleaning of the aircons wich was 1000 pesos. we paid 250 when we had them cleaned and we had to fix them withing a few month of mooving in obviously they were in disrepair whjen we mooved in. another example is the company we rent from puts fliers at the doors of all tennents advertising unit cleaning for 350 to 400 pesos. when time for us to get our deposit on our email from this company they say the unit cleaning is a thousand pesos. were do i go to report such behaviors they even say it cost 8000 pesos to fix a shower head a sink and a few light bulbs. the cieling fell in during a schedual one typhoon and they want us to pay 8500 pesos for a couch that was damaged during the process. at the time they agreed they will fix it because i wanted to leave the place due to safety issues and i was demanding my money back so they then seemed so easy to deal with now i left they have made the damages bill to the exact amount i paid for security deposit and i know i dont even owe half of what they r telling me . please help me report this to proper authorities and help me to get my money back. thanks to the reader, chris

3 lc   (22-October-2012 12:24 PM)
Visit this link: http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/09175869763

There are several complaints against this series of number: 091758697xx.

I received a call too from this number, the person on the other line named "Magnolia Rose Ramos" (i dont know if this is her real name though) was offerring a globe pocket wifi. She said she's from Globe. I told her to call me after an hour as I was on a meeting. Then I immediately called Globe to verify the call, they said a notification/record should be reflected on my account if a globe officer/representative called me. In short, the call by a certain Magnolia Rose Ramos is fake.

2 abouttobescammedbyglobe   (06-May-2012 9:56 PM)
Hi, I'm interested with the outcome of the complaint. I do hope it was resolved as I am planning to file a complaint against globe too. Nowhere in their contract does it stipulate that there is a fee of 5000 pesos. I was only informed that there is a pre-termination fee. Also, only when I called their retention did I learn the true amount of early termination. I applied for a 2mbps dsl with landline and it never worked since installation day. The manager of the store in Baguio even called me to tell me that "I didn't like the way you treated my staff". I was angry but never personally "attacked" her staff. It's a clear breach of my rights to privacy and also, their shady business activities are questionable.

1 scamedbyglobe   (05-November-2011 10:49 PM)
On October 25, we received a call fro Globe offering Globe Wimax 1MBPS + Landline for P1299. They offered use a 50% (P649.50) discount for 12 months on a 2 year contract under the terms that on the 2nd year, we will be billed for the full amount of P1299. After discussion, we agreed and received another all on the 26th of October. They informed us that they will just record the sale and the terms. And that they will contact us for installation schedule. On the 31st of October, the installation team came to our house and installed the modem and telephone without prior notice. As soon as the installation was completed, I received a call from Globe asking about the install team. (Are they in uniform, wearing IDs and if they were polite) He confirmed the package of Wimax 1MBPS + Landline and the 50% discount.

I then called, November 1st to confirm if the number was already active because we couldn't make calls. After a brief conversation the representative and I touched on the plan and costing, and she said I have a 16% discount, not the original 50% that they promised. I then asked for a supervisor and he stated that since it was not captured on record, they will not be able to confirm the 50% offer. I gave them the number they used to contact us (09175869722 oct 25 11:50am/09175869765 Oct 5 3:24pm/09175869773 Oct 26 9:11am) and they said they will retrieve the recording and act accordingly after investigation. And after what seemed like an endless conversation, I opted to just have the plan terminated. She then transferred me to their "Retention" department where they stated that I needed to pay a P5000 fine +P1500 on modem and additional other fees that I cannot remember.

I then had the service temporarily disconnected pending their investigation so that they will not bill us until this is cleared. But they stated that this temporary disconnection will only last 1 month.

I am filing a complaint against Globe for 3 incidents.

1. That they offered 50% discount, which was the only reason we agreed to the installation, and they just dismissed that and stated that they will follow only what is on record.
2. That they never gave me a contract with the service cost and terms and conditions.
3. That they are imposing a disconnection fine after only 24 hours of the initial installation when they state a 30 day money back guarantee on their website "Money-back guarantee
- We're so confident about Globe WiMAX service quality that if you're unhappy with the connection within the first 30 days from installation, we'll give you your money back!"

I have filed the same complaint with DTI and I am hoping for a resolution.
That they terminate the service without any due fines and charges. My family and I are very frustrated about the lack of ownership from their customer service, but more than anything else, the deceptive ways they use to lure unsuspecting customer.

I hope this action will not only help resolve our situation, but prevent other consumers from falling into this trap.

Thank you and good day


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