Greater information exchange between regulators seen
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently announced the issuance of Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 22-01, series of 2022, or the Guidelines Reiterating the Laws and Regulations Applicable to Online Businesses and Consumers.
Under the JAO, government agencies shall develop a system to exchange intelligence/information on prohibited and regulated items monitored online, including automatic sharing of information with the appropriate regulatory agency on possible violations detected/discovered. This may include the sharing of and access to a database of products/items containing sufficient information, keywords, content, for the purpose.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said, “Institutionalizing this exchange of information between government agencies is one of the ways by which we can make monitoring of compliance by online sellers more efficient. The DTI e-commerce division shall be tasked to coordinate with both the marketplace platforms and government agencies in setting up this mechanism.”
Online businesses are covered by the Consumer Act of the Philippines, the Philippine Standards Law which provides liabilities in case of defective products, or the Intellectual Property Code for counterfeit and pirated goods. Online sellers need to comply with product and service warranties, labeling requirements including price tag placement.
The Department warns that the practice of providing prices through private (or direct) messages to consumers/buyers is considered a violation of the Price Tag law. Online merchants must exhibit the corresponding permit or license number for regulated items as prescribed by regulatory agencies concerned. Online businesses are not allowed to produce, import, distribute, market, sell or transport goods that are prohibited by law.
Consumers and sellers are reminded that fines and penalties provided under existing laws applicable to brick-and-mortar transactions are applicable to online transactions as well.