Exercise your rights, DTI tells consumers
The Department of Trade and Industry in Region 7 (DTI 7) is reminding consumers and retailers of their rights and responsibilities as consumer spending goes on high gear with the holiday season.
Consumers should “exercise their right to choose” the best quality products within their spending budget, said Zaide Bation, DTI 7 head of the Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Board (CWBRB).
Based on an annual study conducted by the agency since 2008, Bation said consumer activity peaks in three months: December, for the Christmas shopping season; January, in preparation for Sinulog; and June for school supplies.
Here’s what consumers and sellers should remember:
• Don’t be in a hurry to buy.
“People usually are in a hurry to buy and don’t check the quality of the product if they’re buying what they really want. Maybe, they can find something cheaper at another store. Consumers should exercise caution when buying, especially with the vast array of products being offered for Christmas,” Bation said.
While shoppers can take damaged or defective items back to the store for an exchange, this can cause unnecessary inconvenience and waste time.
• Sellers should refrain from posting “No return, no exchange” policy signs in their establishments.
According to DTI, “such policy is regarded as deceptive because consumers may return or exchange goods or avail of other remedies, in case of hidden faults or defects, or any charge the buyer was not aware of in time of the purchase.””
“By provision of the law, sellers are obligated to honor their implied warranties and grant corresponding remedies to consumers.”
“Shoppers always have the right to return the item if it is defective. But for other reasons, like they changed their mind or they bought the wrong size or color, or they want to exchange it for another item, the establishments have the prerogative to accept the item back or not,” Bation said.
• Sellers should take preemptive measures and check their products for any possible defects before selling them.
Sellers are expected to repair or replace defective items under warranty.
The DTI identified two types of warranties honored in the country.
An express warranty indicates the exact terms, date and time of warranty.
An implied warranty depends on a more generic warranty.
Consumers who want to avail of the warranty will have to present the official receipt, warranty card, or sticker label with the serial number of the product.
• Consumers should check price tags of the items they plan to buy.
The DTI advisory said that some items can be priced the same but are actually of different sizes or weights.
Consumers have to observe carefully when they go shopping, Bation said.
According to the DTI advisory, as a general rule, if the price on the tag, the shelf price and the scanned price of any one product is not the same, the lowest price of the three should be followed.
Price tags must contain several information, including the price of the commodity in Philippine currency, and no alterations unless in the event of a sales promotion or discount.
“The price tag law is meant to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales act and practices as provided by the law or the Consumer Act of the Philippines,” DTI said.
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