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DTI urges online sellers to register

Online sellers are urged to register their business at the Department of Trade and Industry for the security of consumers.

DTI City Director Rachel Remitio said they receive two to three complaints weekly about transactions with online sellers that are defective but leave consumers with no recourse for returning the product.

In 2008, DTI, along with Department of Health and Department of Agriculture, had a joint memo on consumer protection for e-commerce transactions to address the issues on online selling.

Part of the requirement as stated in the memo is “privacy policy, information about retailer, seller, distributor, products and services, and consumer transaction, including the setting-up of a help desk to internally resolve consumer complaints.”

Sellers must comply with all these for online dispute resolution process and to strengthen the confidence between the buyer and the seller.

Director Remitio urged online sellers to register their business during the Habi at Kape forum at Abreeza Mall, yesterday.

“If you’re an online seller and you have an address, you have to get a business permit. Once you have a business permit, the LGU which issued that permit will check and do tax mapping. We can say that the online seller is legitimate because of that,” she said.

She said 90% of the complaints were resolved due to their intervention and this was tracked because the online sellers involved were legitimate. They are unable to monitor or check those who are not registered.

Demanding accountability from illegal online sellers is difficult due to the nature of digital technology.

She said that responding to reports on illegal online sellers is a challenge. Since the business is not registered they have no way of monitoring transactions or the opportunity to intervene when there are complaints.

Remitio urged consumers to help them by reporting illegal online stores and to always check for permits whenever they buy from them and inquire about their physical stores or warehouses before making the purchase.

Despite the advisory on online seller registration and public awareness, there is also no available list of legitimate online sellers so people cannot check if it is legitimate or not.

She added that because of the current challenges, the agency is open for adjustments such as creating a body that would regulate and monitor online activities.

Remitio asks the public to be extra careful with their online transactions and for online sellers to take accountability and register their stores.

“Please only transact with legitimate online sellers,” she urged.

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