Consumer power sought by bill amendment

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Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th has proposed amendments to the 23-year-old Consumer Act of the Philippines that will empower consumers amid the country’s rising economy.

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“In order to build stronger commercial systems and maintain thriving markets, there is a need to bolster the rights of consumers and we need to do this at the soonest possible time,” Aquino said in his Senate Bill 2699.

The bill seeks changes in the 1992 act in order to address issues facing the consumers and markets, according to Aquino, also chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

If passed, the Department of Trade and Industry will be authorized to close down any establishment caught in the act of selling, distributing, manufacturing, producing, displaying or importing hazardous and defective products.

In case of product recall, manufacturers of defective products will also be required to give
notice to every person to whom such consumer product was delivered or sold to.

The measure also raises the administrative fines against erring manufacturers from P50,000 up to P10 million, depending on the discretion of the Trade secretary.

The current law imposes a fine of P500 to P300,000.

“The amount of fines shall be computed [at]  five percent of the gross value of sales of the consumer product and services [that are]subject of a consumer complaint,” Aquino said.

In addition, foreign products with labels written in foreign characters/language will be allowed entry into the country, provided they have a corresponding English or Filipino translation.

In providing service or repair, a manufacturer must inform a consumer about the particular parts of goods that need to be replaced or repaired.

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