VICTORIA, LAGUNA — Under Republic Act No. 7394 otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, it is the policy of the State to protect the interests of the consumer, promote his general welfare and establish standards of conduct for business and industry. Accordingly, Article 159 of the Consumer Act and Sections 2 and 18 of Executive Order No. 913 mandate the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to protect the rights of consumers by providing a fair, timely, and professional response to complaints for violations of R.A. 7394 and other trade and industry/Fair Trade Laws.

Mediation is an intervention by which DTI, through its appointed or designated Mediation Officers, facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties and assists them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding a dispute.

Mediation is mandatory in all consumer complaints involving violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and other Fair Trade Laws. It is a condition precedent for the filing of formal complaints for adjudication under Rule IV Department Administrative Order No. 20-02 Series of 2020. The process involves (1) receiving the complaint, (2) evaluating the complaint, (3) issuing Notice of Mediation, and (4) conducting the mediation.

This may result in either an amicable settlement between parties or failure of mediation leading to the issuance of a Certificate to File Action (CFA) by the DTI Mediation Officer. If CFA is issued, the complainant may proceed to file a formal complaint to the proper office of the DTI for adjudication purposes.

Keywords in mediation are dispute, conflict, confrontation, and compromise situations that can really be taxing to the people involved in the process. This month of January 2024, a total of 73 cases were resolved by the resilient mediation team of DTI-Laguna. Consumer complaints filed with DTI may cover any, but not limited to the following: Liability for Product and Services (i.e., Defective or Imperfect Products/Services); Deceptive Sales Acts/Practices; Consumer Product Quality and Safety; Violation for printing “No Return. No Exchange” in the receipts; Chain Distribution Plans or Pyramid Sales Schemes; Consumer Product and Service Warranties; Labeling and Fair Packaging; and Misleading Advertisement and Fraudulent Sales Promotion Practices, Regulation of Repair and Service Firms and Philippine Lemon Law (TFTawingan, DTI-Laguna). ♦

Date of release: 5 February 2024