Consumer complaints to DTI surge during height of lockdown

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CONSUMER COMPLAINTS received in the year to date have surged past 45,000, with complaints rising across-the-board for both online and offline transactions, many of them logged during the lockdown, according to the Trade department.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it received 45,542 complaints as of Oct. 2, significantly higher than the 10,918 total for 2019, Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said in an online event on Friday.

Complaints about online transactions rose to 13,981 so far, compared to 2,457 complaints for the full year preceding. Complaints about offline transactions rose to 31,561, from 8,461 last year.

The bulk of the online complaints involved “deceptive” sales practices, defective products, unreasonable prices, and poor customer service, Ms. Castelo said.

Ito po ‘yung mga nature of complaints that we received, the highest of which is deceptive or liability for product and service — ‘yung mga defective products that you receive, kasi you order it online, it will be delivered to you and then for all you know, sira pala siya (The online complaints were mainly about deceptive practices and lack of liability on the part of the seller, in which you discover the product is defective when it is delivered.”)

Most of the complaints about online transactions involved major e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada, while a few were logged by sellers on social media platforms like Facebook.

Around 8,000 of the complaints about online transactions were submitted during the April to May period, or at the height of the strict lockdown. The department received 1,044 in September.

Lazada Philippines said sellers on online platforms should share liability risk to deter scams, saying that removing responsibility from the seller would encourage scammers.

The company’s daily seller onboarding totals tripled in July compared to February. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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