Dear DTI Consumer Power,
A sales representative from a company offering lifestyle and health devices came to my house one day to offer me a machine intended to prevent and cure certain ailments of the body. He performed a demonstration of the product while enumerating the benefits I could procure from it.
I told him that I am on maintenance for my hypertension and diabetes. This made him more eager to sell me the product, because he claimed that it is specifically designed to cure such health problems. After a lengthy sales talk, I eventually agreed to purchase the machine. I was asked to deposit P1,000 and pay the remaining balance upon receipt of the product the next day.
I have my reservations about my purchase so I consulted our family physician before I tested it out. To my surprise, my doctor advised me not to use the product since it involves exposure to heat that could shoot up my blood pressure and eventually cause me my life. Due to this, I contacted the company to have them retrieve the machine from my house and refund my money.
In my conversation with one of their staff, they agreed to my demands and advised me to wait for their call, as to when they will come to my house to get the machine and give me back the money I paid them.
It’s been over a month still, no word from any representative of the company. I am suspecting that they are not going to reverse my payment unless I take a more aggressive action.
Can the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) help me with this?
Nowadays, more and more people have been shifting from carefree living to a healthier lifestyle. What seems to be a very sound choice for some became a business prospect for others. An array of products have been sprawling everywhere all claiming to be beneficial to our health. Unfortunately, only a few live up to such claim.
The machine offered to you by the sales representative who came to your house is just one of the many products offered in the market used to gain profit and not to help consumers with their body ailments. Consulting your family physician before trying out the product is a good decision. However, doing this before you purchased the machine would have been better. This could have saved you from the trouble of refunding the money you paid to the company who sold it to you.
The other important thing to point out is the manner by which they sold the product to you. What the sales representative did is considered as Home Solicitation Sales. Consumers must be aware that Republic Act 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, have provisions specifically intended for home solicitations.
Before entertaining a sales representative in your home, you must first make sure that they have obtained a permit from the DTI to conduct such home solicitation sale. Moreover, such activity is only allowed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. of each working day. Any home solicitation done beyond these days and hours are only allowed if the person being solicited from previously agreed to it.
Aside from the DTI permit, consumers must also check for the identification card or any other documents that would serve as a proof that they are indeed a representative from the company they said they are working from. If they claim that you have been specifically selected; a survey, test or research is being conducted; or that their company is making a special offer to a few persons only for a limited time, it is best to turn them down and avoid making any sales transaction with them. Such claims are considered as prohibited representations in conducting home solicitation sales.
When the sales representative told you that the machine is exclusively designed to cure hypertension and diabetes and later on proven as false claims, he has committed a violation against the provisions of the Consumer Act on Deceptive, Unfair and Unconscionable Sales Act or Practice, for he made misrepresentations about the product just to induce you to enter into a sales transaction.
Any person or entity proven to have violated the any of the provisions on deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales act or practice is subject to a fine of not more than P10,000 and imprisonment reaching to one year upon conviction.
As for your demand to reverse the payment you made in purchasing the machine, it would be best to file a formal complaint with the company concerned in the form of a letter and attach to it the copy of the official receipt they issued to you. Should the company take no action regarding your concern, you may lodge your complaint with the DTI and we would gladly assist you.
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.