AMID INTERNET COMMERCIALIZATION
    Solon seeks amendments to Consumer, Price Acts

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    ANGELES CITY- Amid the increasing commercialization of the internet, especially via social networks, House trade and industry committee chair and Bataan Rep. Albert Garcia wants amendments to the 20-year-old Consumer Act of the Philippines (CAP).

    “We have clear issues regarding internet sales promotion especially on social networking site Facebook,” he said.

    Garcia said in an interview that Republic Act No. 7394 or the CAP and the Price Act are undergoing scrutiny to “attune them with the current Philippine landscape entwined with internet use.”

    This, after a growing number of so-called netizens raised queries on whether sales promotion on Facebook needed government permits.

    “The Consumer Act of the Philippines, and Republic Act No. 7581, referred to as the Price Act now need amendments to attune them with the changing times and present-day needs and concerns of consumer,” Garcia stressed.

    Garcia cited a question raised by internet marketing consultant expert Janette Toral, reputed to be the mother of E-commerce law, on whether bloggers and other netizens need to obtain a permit from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to run an online contest even if there is no product purchase being required.

    “There has always been an assumption that if you run a contest or promotion, online or offline, getting a DTI permit is not necessary if purchase of a product or service is not required,” said Toral.

    “My concern though is when bloggers start organizing contests and promotions of their own that intend to promote goodwill (brand building) for their blogs, do we need to get a DTI permit too?” she asked.

    DTI-Bataan Director Yay Lasam said he has not encountered any netizen seeking permit from his agency for any internet sales promotions, but admitted gray area on the issue.

    “It is time to revise CAP since its last update in 1992,” he said.

    Garcia expressed confidence that Congress would pass “important measures to resolve the new ambiguities in the law and protect the consumers especially since the country is celebrating this October the Consumer Welfare Month.”

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