Active social media users and frequent customers of e-commerce platforms have perhaps seen the phrase “PM is the key” a little too more often when asking for prices of goods. However, according to the Department of Trade Industry, this is an illegal practice.

Under the Republic Act No. 7394 of the Consumer Act, all sellers must display prices of products, and goods shouldn’t be sold at a price higher than what is declared.

According to DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, the Republic Act No. 7581 also mandates online stores as well as brick-and-mortar shops to include price tags of all products being sold.

She added that the absence of price tags “would constitute the offense of profiteering, an illegal act of price manipulation.”

The official added that violators will be imposed a fine from PHP 5,000 to PHP 2 million and a maximum imprisonment of 15 years.

Consumers, meanwhile, may file complaints to the DTI via the department’s hotline 1384.

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) sees the e-commerce industry as something that will help the local economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said that online shopping and marketing platforms will have an essential role in the new normal and will drive an increase in cashless payments.

The agency, however, noted that laws related to online shopping like the Republic Act No. 8972 or the Electronic Commerce Act must be revised to strengthen coverage on consumers’ welfare.

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