Consumer complaints rose 4% from Jan to Aug, DTI says
MANILA -The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the number of consumer complaints lodged at their office during the first eight months of the year increased by 4 percent, many of which involved deceptive sales practices by unscrupulous individuals or parties.
Fhillip Sawali, director of the DTI’s Fair Trade and Enforcement Bureau, said the number of complaints reached 21,023 during the eight-month period.
“These are the people that try to scam people. They say their products are genuine but it turns out they are fake,” Sawali said during a press conference marking the celebration of consumer welfare month this October.
He said that the other most common complaints were about defective products or services, as well as sales promotions.
Sawali said that although some online platforms had been cited as the respondents, most that have been named in the complaints were sellers of products and services.
“At retail point, it is the sellers who are in close contact with [complainants]. So it is mostly retailers [who are the subject of the complaints],” he said, adding that the same was true for cases involving both online and offline transactions.
Despite the number of complaints hitting more than 20,000 during the period, the DTI official said only 6,538, or about 30 percent of theses, fall within their jurisdiction.
He said cases involving products or services not under their jurisdiction are referred to other government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health or Food and Drug Administration.
But for the cases that they handle, Sawali said their mediation team were able to settle 31 percent of the total number.
The DTI is celebrating Consumer Welfare Month this month, as part of the government’s efforts to promote consumer awareness and disseminate consumer information on policies and programs affecting them.
The department is focusing on sustainability in its celebration this year, with the theme being “GenS: Generation Sustainable.”
“Consumer welfare is not just a monthlong celebration—it’s a lifelong commitment to making choices that benefit you and society as a whole. Let us recommit ourselves to being responsible and informed consumers and support forward-looking policies and initiatives that protect consumer rights,” Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said in a statement.