- Category: Economy
05 Nov 2013
- Written by Mia M. Gonzalez
THE chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship on Tuesday urged mall owners and administrators of big tiangge-style business establishments to set up consumer welfare desks as a service to their customers and to help strengthen consumer protection.
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV made the appeal in an interview with reporters at the SM Mall of Asia, where he and Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo had a briefing at the consumer welfare desk at the mall.
“We’re hoping that the consumer welfare desks would be set up in all shopping areas, not only in the malls….We’re hoping that there would be more mall owners, tiangge administrators who will actually work with the Department of Trade and Industry [DTI] so they can have consumer welfare desk in areas where people shop,” Aquino said.
The desk would help disseminate information on consumer rights, and can provide dissatisfied consumers a venue for their complaints against retailers who sell defective products and services.
He said the service is not required by the government and is a “partnership” between the establishment and the DTI, which is ready to provide training for those who will man the desk, as well material on consumer rights for public dissemination.
Aquino also hoped that shopping areas would provide even temporary consumer welfare desks this Christmas season, when shopping is expected would be at its peak.
Domingo invited Aquino to join him in his “Bantay Pasko”—a special market-monitoring activity on Christmas lights, and prices of Noche Buena products—at the Tutuban Mall in Divisoria that morning, followed by the visit to SM Mall of Asia to check their consumer welfare desk.
Aquino said the government, business owners and consumers “can help each other so we will have a merrier Christmas.”
“We should all pitch in. While the government continues its monitoring, business owners should be responsible and consumers should do their part by not being lured by cheap products. They should scrutinize the products and check for quality and product standards so that their hard-earned money would not go to waste,” Aquino said.
Aquino added there are enough laws to ensure consumer protection, so it’s just a matter of implementation and public knowledge on what their rights are as consumers.
He said it is not well-known that under the law, all sold products have an “implied warranty” of 60 days, during which time they can be exchanged if found to be defective for as long as there is a receipt.
Aquino also said that while consumers have rights, they must be “responsible” consumers too by not patronizing products that are cheap but may cost them much more later on, such as Christmas lights without the proper Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) stickers that would vouch for their safe use.
The senator said the DTI will intensify its monitoring of business establishment and prices of Noche Buena food items this Christmas season.
Domingo said that during the monitoring activity in Tutuban, one retailer was found selling Christmas lights without ICC stickers—which is against regulation—prompting the DTI representatives to give him a citation.
He also said prices of goods related to the Christmas season, such as ham and canned fruit cocktail, have remained stable.