Don’t neglect that change

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Dear DTI Consumer Power,

I don’t really give much attention to stores that do not give my exact change. After all, I’m only a few centavos or peso short. However, one of the lady shoppers in the store I went to got so mad at the clerk when they failed to give her 25 cents. She was so furious over that minute amount.

I simply don’t get it. Is shortchanging really that big of a deal?
Anjo, Cainta

Dear Anjo,
Shortchanging is a violation against the law, because businesses who commit this are giving consumers less of what is due to them. Needless to say, it is a form of cheating.


The Exact Change Act seeks to “(a) prohibit the giving of insufficient change or no change at all to consumers; (b) prohibit the giving of change in any form other than money; (c) require the posting of signs reminding consumers to ask for their exact change; and (d) require the use of price tags, when appropriate, that will reflect the exact price per unit or service, already incorporating the applicable tax or taxes.”

Any person or business that violates this shall be fined P500 for the first offense; P15,000 for the second offense and their license to operate the business establishment shall be suspended for three months; and P25,000 for the fourth offense and their license to operate shall be revoked.

In addition to the amount of the fines mentioned above, the total amount of change the concerned establishment failed or refused to give, as determined from the audit of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), shall be paid by the said establishment to the government unless it can be determined with reasonable certainty that the change is due and payable to a particular person or persons.

Just because a mere 10-centavo, 25-centavo or P1 is less of your change, most consumers ignore this. What they don’t realize is the gravity and implications of committing shortchanging. Imagine a restaurant serving 500 customers a day and all of them get a change short of P1. If you do the math, the restaurant gets P500 a day, P2,000 a week, P8,000 a month and P96,000 a year. This amount could have bought their customers extra decent meals or other valuable products or service.

Shortchanging is a trade malpractice. When tolerated by consumers, it makes it seem acceptable by society when it should be stopped. This also defeats the purpose of putting laws and policies in place to give order to the community. Consumers must realize the importance of asserting their rights. This is one way of achieving balance between doing business and protecting the welfare of the consuming public.

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The Department of Trade and Industry welcomes all inquiries, complaints, comments and suggestions from consumers. Call DTI Direct at 751-3330 from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit the DTI website www.dti.gov.ph.

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