MANILA — A lawmaker has filed a bill, imposing a penalty against erring business establishments that fail to give the exact amount of change to customers.
Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City) filed House Bill 4433 seeking to protect consumers from deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales act and practices.
Gatchalian said the bill seeks to stop the practice of many business establishments like supermarkets of giving candies instead of paying the exact amount of change to customers.
The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 7394, otherwise known as the “Consumer Act of the Philippines,” particularly the provision on unfair or unconscionable sales provision.
“RA 7394 is a government regulation that is aimed at protecting consumers’ rights and welfare. It has been in existence for 22 years with some minor amendments. In order to be responsive to the prevailing times, this measure intends to add another provision in Article 52 to further protect consumers,” Gatchalian said.
According to Gatchalian, Article 52 of RA 7394 provides that an unfair or unreasonable sales act or practice by a seller or supplier in connection with a consumer transaction violates Chapter I – Deceptive, Unfair and Unconscionable Sales Acts or Practices, whether it occurs before, during or after the consumer transaction.
Gatchalian said an act or practice shall be deemed unfair and unconscionable whenever the producer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller, by taking advantage of the environment or surroundings, induces the consumer or gross one-side in favor of the producer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller.
Gatchalian cited Article 48 of RA 7394, which provides that the State shall promote and encourage fair, honest and equitable relations among parties in consumer transactions and protect the consumer against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts or practices.
Gatchalian proposed to amend Article 48 by providing additional circumstance by including that the consumer transaction was denied because of an alleged shortage of coins or change on the part of the seller, or that the consumer was shortchanged by the giving of candies or other items in lieu of money as change, or when due to lack of time, the consumer enters into the transaction even if it means waiving the change due.
Under the bill, violators face one-year imprisonment and a fine of not more than P10,000.