07, 2014

NR # 3339

Protection for online consumers and merchants sought
A lawmaker has filed a bill protecting the rights of consumers and merchants of online commerce by laying down the rules and regulations of the online industry for the sake of the future internet users. Rep. Wes Gatchalian (Party-list, Alay uhay! filed "ouse ill #$%$ as he noted the need to address concerns on state regulations on the industry considering the country is still in an infant stage in the online commerce and &ery &ulnerable to monetary scams. '(he bill is certainly not a perfect one, other areas and concerns might not ha&e been addressed but we cannot afford not to bring order to our li&es and this bill is an effort to craft a law that will foster a smooth functioning social order on online commerce and trading,) Gatchalian said. Gatchalian noted that the rise of digital technology saw the emergence of mobile networks and the rapid ad&ancement in computer technologies. According to the lawmaker, the *nternet has brought with it many forms of businesses and new forms of marketing such as the e-commerce and the online shopping. Gatchalian said in the Philippines, the online shopping is on its road to a big leap as the research company +ielsen estimated that as of now, the country has at least %%., million *nternet users and is still growing. '-ur online shopping portal is also on the rise. We ha&e ayosdito.com, sulit.com, philshopping.com, la.ada.com, pinoytiangge.com, ebay-ph.com and many others that e&en ha&e outdated the classified ads and the buy and sell, and it won/t take long, many will be disco&ering the con&enience of online shopping similar to first world countries where in it is already a million dollar industry,) Gatchalian said. '*magine shopping in the comfort of your home, free from the metropolitan traffic, dangers of handling cash, where the product will be deli&ered right at your doorstep, and en0oying shopping #1 hours23 days a week,) he added. Gatchalian said no doubt, there are notable success stories on online commerce, but this hype has also its share of weaknesses and limitations and it is the bill/s purpose to fill in the gap. Gatchalian said the measure seeks to address concerns on payment options and secrecy of data obtained from the consumers and more transparency from traders.

Gatchalian added that the bill also aims to eliminate hidden transaction costs, deli&ery problems, cancellation of orders, refunds against cancellation and payment issues. 4nder the measure to be known as '5onsumers and 6erchants -nline Protection Act of the Philippines,) before the consumer is bound by an online contract, or any corresponding offer, the ser&ice pro&ider shall pro&ide the consumer with information on the description of the goods or ser&ices being offered7 the goods or products conform to product standards7 the identity of the third party seller, ser&ice pro&ider, geographical address to which the consumer may address any complaints and the total price of the goods or ser&ices inclusi&e of ta8es in a clear and comprehensible manner. (he ser&ice pro&ider shall also pro&ide the consumer with a copy of a signed contract or the confirmation of the contract through an electronic document as pro&ided under the 9lectronic 5ommerce Act within a reasonable time. :urthermore, the ser&ice pro&ider shall seek the e8press consent of the consumer before it charges or attempt to charge any consumer/s credit card, debit card, bank account or other financial account for any goods or ser&ices sold in a transaction online through the *nternet. (he bill also pro&ides the consumer the right to cancel a payment where fraudulent methods ha&e been made. *t pro&ides prohibition on data-pass used to facilitate certain decepti&e internet sales transactions and negati&e option marketing. (he ;epartment of (rade and *ndustry (;(*! is mandated to promulgate the rules and regulation to implement the pro&isions of this Act. <iolators shall be penali.ed with # years imprisonment and a fine of P#=,=== or both. (%=! lvc