COMPLAINTS involving online transactions rose to 8,059 at the height of the lockdown from 985 in the three months to March, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
“Less than 1,000…complaints received from January to March. But because everybody was at home during the height of the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), April and May it has risen to 8,000,” Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said during a virtual hearing of the House committee on trade and industry Thursday.
Ms. Castelo said that price-related complaints were the most reported by consumers during the lockdown.
“Price Act-related complaints, particularly on overpricing, substantially increased from 51 complaints received to 6,992 complaints. However, since the products involved, such as alcohol, face masks, etc., are not under the purview of the DTI, such complaints were endorsed to other agencies concerned such as the DoH (Department of Health) for appropriate action,” Ms. Castelo said in her presentation.
In the five months to May, complaints about online transactions amounted to 9,044. This is significantly higher than the 2,457 complaints in 2019.
The committee was discussing House Bill 6122 which seeks to establish an E-commerce Bureau to act as a “virtual one stop shop” for consumer complaints on internet transactions and protect them from fraudulent online sales.
Ms. Castelo said that the passage of the bill will help the department boost consumer confidence.
“It will help us resolve complaints, it will help us build consumer confidence in the government… it’s very important that consumers know that the government will take care of them,” she said. — Genshen L. Espedido