CONSUMER PROTECTION ONLINE
The private sector notes that there is a need for the DTI to issue new policies adjusting to trends happening online. This includes online sales permit approvals where its current 30-day rule may be too long. In addition, there is a need for this service to start accepting applications online.
Consumer complaints require parties to appear in person at the DTI office. However, there are cases where the buyer and seller may come from different provinces and this will be difficult to implement. Hence the need for an online dispute resolution process.
On 20 October 2008, the DTI, Department of Health, and Department of Agriculture enacted a joint memorandum circular on consumer protection for e-commerce transactions. (DTI-DOH-DA Joint Administrative Order (AO) No. 1 - “Rules and Regulations for Consumer Protection in a Transaction Covered by the Consumer Act of the Philippines (R.A. 7394) through Electronic Means under the E-commerce Act (R.A. 8792)” or the E-Consumer Protection Guidelines).
This lack of an established online process for handling of merchant and consumer complaints affects confidence in doing e-commerce.
The DTI is encouraged to set up a single platform for complaints-handling, including an application that can route the complaint to the concerned government entity and monitor the complaints until its resolution.
The DTI is working with Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) to amend the Consumer Act of the Philippines that will include e-commerce-related provisions.
Trust is essential for e-commerce to prosper. There is a seeming lack of seal providers to authenticate e-commerce sites offering products and services online.