Online transaction complaints up slightly last year
MANILA -The number of consumer complaints related to online transactions received by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) increased slightly last year.
Data obtained by the Inquirer from the DTI showed that it received 12,170 of these complaints in 2022, a slight increase compared to the 12,152 recorded in the previous year.
Still, the number shows a substantial improvement compared to the 15,967 complaints received by the government agency in 2020, at a time when online transactions peaked due to the effects of the restrictions caused by the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Platforms are somehow doing [their] part, too. Or maybe people have slowly eased back into offline purchasing,” Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, who heads the DTI’s consumer protection group, said in a message sent to the Inquirer.
However, latest figures from the DTI indicate that these consumer complaints still number in the thousands, reaching 5,701 during the first five months of 2023.
Nearly half of these complaints, numbering 2,082, during the five-month period were due to transactions deemed as “deceptive, unfair and unconscionable,” according to the DTI.
Meanwhile, 537 complaints were due to defective products, 458 because of misleading advertisements, 394 tagged as online scams and 317 were plan subscription issues.
The other remaining issues include those which are related to concerns on banks and other financial institutions, poor internet connection and disputes on booking and ticket reservations, among others
Earlier last week, Castelo said that online selling platforms, such as Shopee and Lazada, would be held equally liable as the vendors they host who are found guilty of selling deceptive and defective products.
The trade official said that the DTI’s fair trade and enforcement bureau would penalize both platforms and sellers with fines of up to P300,000 in proven cases.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual earlier ordered two e-commerce firms to address customers’ complaints, telling them to remove unregistered and unlicensed merchants from their platforms. INQ