Stores cannot refuse to give change or give candies as substitute

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Persida Acosta

 

Dear Blas,
Republic Act (RA) 10909 or the No Shortchanging Act of 2016 strongly prohibits the act of shortchanging, that is, “giving insufficient or no change to a consumer who purchased a product or service.”(Section 3 (i), Ibid.). Section 4 of RA 10909 provides:

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“Regulated Acts. – It shall be the duty of the business establishment to give the exact change to the consumer without waiting for the consumer to ask for the same.

(a) In General. – It shall be unlawful for any business establishment to shortchange a consumer, even if such change is only of a small amount. x x x

(b) Other Prohibitions. – It shall also be unlawful for any business establishment which sells goods or provides services to give the change in any form other than the present currency or to ask the consumers for permission to be exempted from the provisions of this act for any reason, including the non-availability of small bills or coins.” (Emphasis supplied)

Accordingly, it is not only disallowed but it has been declared by law to be unlawful for business establishments, grocery stores included, to refuse from giving due change to their customers, or substitute such change with items even if these items have value. It is also unlawful for establishments to tell their customers, as the cashier did to you, to let go of the change, no matter how small the amount is. The law offers no exception. Hence, a written complaint may be filed against them before the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), if they commit any of the prohibited acts. The period for filing such complaint shall not be later than ten (10) working days after a violation has been committed. (Section 5, Id.) Corollary, penalties may be imposed upon them, as provided under Section 6 thereof, if it is established that they clearly failed to comply with the provisions of RA 10909.

Please note that the provisions of this law apply to all business establishments, regardless of whether they are registered or not. (Section 1, Rule II, Department Administrative Order No. 16-03, Series of 2016, Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10909).

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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