DTI warns unscrupulous businessmen to stay out of the market

April 22, 2010 7:23 pm 

MANILA, April 22 — The Department of Trade and Industry has warned businessmen to adhere to trade and consumers the laws or face severe sanctions from the government.

Trade and Industry Secretary Jesli A, Lapus issued this warning after the Department received mounting complaints from consumers against unscrupulous businessmen especially in Metro Manila.

For the first quarter of the year, the Department of Trade and Industry-National Capital Region (DTI-NCR) has filed forty administrative cases against businesses found violating fair trade laws (FTLs) such as the Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7394); Price Act (RA 7581); Standards Law (RA 4109) and PD 1572, a law which provides for the accreditation of service and repair shops.

“These efforts, aside from protecting consumer welfare, are done to weed out businesses that do not play within the rules of the game,” DTI Assistant Secretary Angel Pelayo said.

Respondents of said administrative cases filed by the regional office include Arysta Marketing, Green Top Marketing and Hoffman Marketing.

The three were charged with violation of Articles 50 and 52 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines pertaining to unfair or unconscionable sales act practice by a seller.

As narrated in the numerous consumer complaints against erring establishments, representatives from Arysta, Green Top and Hoffman Marketing lure potential customers to believe that they have won a gift or prize, when the subject product is not in fact a “gift.”

Target customers are in fact required to purchase an additional exorbitantly-priced item to receive said “gift”.

Preventive Measure Orders have been issued by DTI-NCR prohibiting the three companies from employing said deceptive marketing scheme.

Other administrative cases involve infringement of the Standards Law and related Department Administrative Orders.

Huma Corporation, a distributor of ceramic tiles, was formally charged for distributing its products prior to the issuance of an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC).

Similarly Midway Road Trading, an importer of cement products, violated the terms of the DTI Conditional Release, wherein it is stipulated that products should not be transferred in whole or in part pending issuance of the ICC.

Furthermore, the cement products found inside the respondent’s warehouse had a brand different than what was declared by the company.

DTI-NCR is working with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regarding this specific case.

Violations of the fair trade laws will be met with corresponding administrative penalties, including, but not limited to, the imposition of administrative fine ranging from P1,000 to P1 million pesos; the withholding / cancellation of any permit, license or registration being secured by the respondent from the Department; the issuance of a cease and desist order, or; the padlocking of the establishment.

Still, Asec. Pelayo reminded the public of the best remedy for these violations.

“The most effective way to stop the proliferation of these deceptive practices and illegal trade practices is through an informed citizenry. Consumers should remember that the best deterrent and sanction to these unscrupulous business entities: zero sale in their cash register,” Pelayo ended.

Lapus said that the Department has been undertaking a massive consumer education campaign which aims to be a deterrent against businessmen preying on hapless buyers.

“We are coordinating our efforts with the tri-media to ensure all channels of communication are utilized in informing the public of its rights and responsibilities. We are also engaging other government and private sectors to help us in this endeavor,” Lapus added.

“In addition, public elementary and high school students are taught consumerism in their subjects as a result of the DTI and DepEd collaborative efforts in incorporating consumer education in the regular curriculum,” he said. (PNA) LOR/BAC/utb

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