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DTI urges consumers to assert their rights

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“We will protect your rights,” this was the assurance given by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya as the agency reiterates its plea to consumers to assert their rights against unscrupulous traders and business establishments.

“When buying, even from the sidewalks, always demand a receipt as this is your protection just in case the goods you bought are flawed, defective, or substandard,” she said.

Usec. Maglaya said the DTI has a hotline number - 751-3330 - that consumers can call to report any consumer complaints.

The DTI official reveals that daily, they receive an average of 200 to 300 complaints. In instances however of “consumer scare” similar to that of the melamin on milk scare, complaints reached 800 per day. She assures that these complaints are attended to and addressed.

Atty. Vic Dimagiba of the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection Division added that once they receive a complaint, they immediately issue a notice of violation to the establishment and conduct an investigation.

Penalties vary according to the gravity of the offense - P5, 000 for the first violation for small stores and as much as P500, 000 for violations committed by manufacturers. It would take at least 10 days for the resolution of these complaints. He added that, 30 percent of these complaints usually are resolved by mediation.

Usec. Maglaya, however, encourages consumers to complain right in the customer service stations or consumer welfare desks of the stores where the purchase was made for faster and easier action.

She was happy to report that with DTI’s Bagwis program, the program that assures consumers that their complaints will be acted on, almost 80 percent of complaints are resolved in the stores and only 20 percent reach the DTI. This bodes well in the attitude of both buyer and seller.

Meanwhile PCOO Secretary Sonny Coloma urges consumers to utilize the social media to complain about substandard products. He said it is about time Filipinos be more assertive in exercising their rights as consumers.

Usec. Maglaya, along with some DTI officials were guests of the Communications News Exchange Forum at the Philippine Information Agency.

(PIA News Desk/BST)




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