How can you verify that a business enterprise engaged in online selling is legitimate?

“Ask for a receipt.”

This, DTI VI Regional Director Rebecca M. Rascon told reporters during the Regional Consumer Organization Forum, in line with the celebration of the World Consumer Rights Day, with a theme: “Building a Digital World Consumers Can Trust.”

Consumer organizations, including school-based consumer groups, mall operators, and senior citizens from all over Western Visayas, including Bacolod City, joined the forum at Days Hotel in Iloilo City on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

“If you have a receipt, you have a registered business name and you have a business permit to operate at the local government unit where you are operating. Also, you do not deprive the government of paying the right taxes,” Rascon said in an interview.

The legitimacy of our online sellers are important for the security of our consumers, she added.

With digital technology, all information can be sourced from the internet. However, Rascon said that there are unreliable information through the web “and we need to inform our consumers to be vigilant.”

Check the legitimacy of online sellers first, ask for receipts - DTI

“How can you go after an unregistered online business enterprise if they have flagrant violation of consumer and trade laws? Where can you accuse them because they don’t have any address, they are nowhere to be found,” she said.

The forum gathered consumer associations, aside from inviting the media, to increase the awareness and vigilance of consumers when it comes to reception of advertisements or information through the digital technology.

Other common fraudulent scams using digital technology are text messages informing that you won in a sales promo despite not having joined any, load requests from unknown sources, those seeking monetary help, among others.

“We would like our consumers to keep away from being fooled because of this frauds. Before, we only rely our information from the TV, radio or newspapers. Now we are linked globally through the web. We could not identify the sources of this fraudulent information,” she said.

The Regional Consumer Organization Forum was observed simultaneously by DTI Regional Offices nationwide in line with the celebration of the 2017 World Consumer Rights Day.