Online shoppers warned against fraudulent sellers PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 26 July 2015 16:21

By MICHAEL VINCENT D. CAJULAO

The Department of Trade and Industry-9 has warned consumers transacting via the internet to be very vigilant to protect themselves from fraudulent sellers.

DTI-9 Regional Director Sitti Amina M. Jain said, “while we encourage our small entrepreneurs to use online marketing as one way to promote their products, we are also alerting our consumers to be vigilant. You don’t plunge into online shopping unless you have done research about the sellers”.

Jain said buyers should first and foremost check on the feedbacks of the seller before transacting.

“What I want to tell the consumers is check on the integrity of the seller by checking on the feedbacks given by the buyers. If there are adverse feedbacks then don’t transact with the seller”, Dir. Jain pointed.

Jain added that it would also help if the online store is already an established or well-known online store.

Dir. Jain emphasized that the department is also protecting consumers against malpractices in online marketing.

“Online marketing is covered under the E-Commerce Law and Republic Act 9174 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, meaning even if it is online shopping, if the consumer is at the losing end, you can file complaint with DTI, and we will take charge of that  and identify the seller”, she said.

Consumers can also return the item if they are not satisfied with the product or if what is sent to the buyer is different from what he or she initially bought, Dir. Jain stressed.

Jain also made mention of the Cybercrime Act (RA 10175) which further protects online consumers, making illegal acts committed through the internet as crimes punishable by law.

Furthermore, the Office of Cybercrime under the Department of Justice issued an advisory on how to avoid bogus sellers online.

First, if products are advertised at very low prices compared to other website, then it should be a cause of concern. Second, as what Dir. Jain mentioned, if online sellers have poor ratings or feedback, consumers are advised to stop transacting with the seller.

Other “red flags” to be considered are: if the seller asks buyer to pay by money transfer direct to their bank account instead of a preferred payment method; website do not have contact details such as physical address or telephone number; and/or if the website has little or no information about privacy and terms of conditions of use. — MVC/DTI-9