Supermarkets warned: Don’t raise prices of products yet
DTI asks a supermarket to explain why it hiked prices when goods displayed were old stocks
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) has warned malls and supermarkets not to take advantage of the rapid increase of fuel and with the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law, by increasing prices of basic and prime commodities displayed in their establishments.
Dinah Gladys Oro, Special Trade and Development Specialist of DTI-7, said in an interview on Wednesday (May 30), that the agency had already served a show-cause order against a supermarket in uptown Cebu City.
Oro said that based on their special monitoring, they had found out that the supermarket had been selling some items which were above the suggested retail price (SRP).
Oro, however, refused to name the supermarket while the DTI-7 was still waiting for its reply.
The DTI has given the establishment to reply and explain within five days the selling of some of the store’s items above the SRP.
Based on their monitoring, she said that the supermarket has been selling meat loaf and beef loaf products which are 55 centavos to 70 centavos higher than the SRP issued by DTI.
“They sold some items above the SRP, so what we did is the usual procedure. We’ve issued show-cause order and giving them five days to explain,” Oro said.
Though, she admitted that within this year, these products were observed to have increased its price due to foreign exchange and transportation cost because raw materials of these products were imported.
“They should comply or else they will be subjected to mediation and penalties if they will continue to violate,” she added.
On the Consumers Act of the Philippines (Republic Act no. 7394), those who violates this act may be subject to imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than five years, or a fine of not less than P5,000 but not more than P10,000, or both such imprisonment and fine, in the discretion of the court.
Oro said that the effect of fuel increase should not be felt yet by consumers through other commodities because supermarkets still had old stocks or inventory at hand.
“For instance, a supermarket in Colon area still has an inventory good for 30 to 45 days or 1 month, while some small grocery stores have an inventory good for one week. After their old stocks will be depleted, then we might already experience an increase in prices on basic commodity products,” she said.
Meanwhile, Oro also revealed that the department has already penalized around 15 business establishments for violating Republic Act (R.A.) 10909 or the “No Shortchanging Act of 2016.”
She said that this is based on the complaints that they have received sent through the e-mail.
Under the law, business establishments are prohibited from the following practices: shortchanging a consumer, even if such change is only of a small amount; changing in any form other than the present currency; and asking consumers for permission to be exempted from the provisions of RA 10909 or its implementing rules and regulations for any reason, including non-availability of small bills or coins.
“After we received complaints, we conduct test-buy in order to verify it,” Oro added.
Oro added that these establishments were located in Cebu, specifically from Talisay, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova town.
Oro also warned establishments of the law’s stringent provision of penalties which includes a fine of P500 or three percent of the total gross sales of the business on the day of the violation, whichever is higher in the first offense; P5,000 or five percent of the gross sales of the business establishment in the second offense; P15,000 or seven percent of the gross sales of the establishment and suspension of license to operate within three months upon recommendation of DTI for the third offense; and P25,000 or 10 percent of the gross sales of the business and revocation of license to operate for the fourth offense.
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