Issue of September 13, 2020
Mt. Province
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DTI urges online sellers to make operations legit
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera is urging those selling their products online to legalize their operations and be responsible to their consumers.

DTI-Cordillera Director Myrna Pablo said online sellers should register their business name with the DTI and must also secure a business permit from the local government unit where they intend to operate or are currently operating.

She said registration will enable the DTI to monitor online selling since it is difficult to trace its operations, to see to it that they follow trade guidelines and they can be held responsible when there are complaints regarding their products or for other consumer concerns.

Pablo said the DTI regional office receives an average of three complaints from dissatisfied consumers a day, and one of three complaints concerns a product purchased via online selling. The most common complaint is on product quality, where the consumer receives a product of substandard quality and not as advertised by the seller on its social media page.

Pablo said most of those operating online without registration are those who would only sell a product on one-time basis and can no longer be contacted to answer to complaints.

She said such mode of selling must be regulated particularly now that many consumers resort to buying products and availing of services using the Internet due to the restrictions on mobility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We cannot really act proactively since it is difficult to access online sellers, especially if they are not registered, so we encourage them to register so we will have a way of tracking them,” Pablo said in a radio interview.

She said the business name of an online seller that is listed in the DTI directory may be cancelled if after due process it is found out to have committed a violation. The LGU should also order said business to stop operating as a sanction.

“The DTI may only cancel the business name, but the business can still continue to operate if that’s not reported to the LGU kaya dapat kapag naireport sa LGU, pahintuin ‘yan dahil ang LGU ang may power to suspend or revoke business license, para mas matakot ang online seller to commit a violation. If the LGU also proves that a business selling online is illegitimate or without a license, it can also order it to stop operation,” Pablo said.

She also reminded consumers to be responsible by only buying from verified and reputable online sellers.“Hindi lang kung sinu-sino na makita nila sa marketplace dahil mura. Maaring hindi naman ito nag-deliver, o nag-deliver nga, hindi mo naman nakuha ‘yung nararapat na quality. Sellers should practice truth in advertising,” Pablo added.

Online sellers may visit the DTI-Cordillera office at Otek St., Baguio City or its social media accounts including the respective provincial DTI offices for inquiries on how to register their business.

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