Gatchalian: E-commerce websites should be vigilant vs deceptive practices
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Sherwin Gatchalian told online marketing platforms to be aggressive in cracking down deceptive, prohibited, and unconscionable sales and practices.
In a statement released Saturday, Gatchalian said that there have been reports of consumer products containing hazardous chemicals that are still getting sold on online platforms.
“We have to accept the reality that online shopping is the new normal. And while online transactions continue to thrive along with the proliferation of unscrupulous sellers, we cannot just sit back and wait until a proper mechanism is in place,” said Gatchalian.
The EcoWaste Coalition reported that third party dealers still sell mercury-laden products through e-commerce marketplaces and that they had notified lead regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers are used to measure body temperature and blood pressure, respectively, but the government phased out said products in September 2010 following an administrative order from the Department of Health.
The Internet Transactions Act (Senate Bill No. 1591), a legislation Gatchalian authored, seeks to make online transactions more consumer-friendly and strengthen the country’s digital economy but it also proposed strict regulations to protect customers from unethical and unscrupulous business practices.
Under the bill, e-commerce platforms shall share liability with an online merchant. Covered in this provision are instances when the online platform fails to ascertain that the products pose risks to the life and health of consumers and if the online merchant is not duly registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies.
“These online marketplaces should not only be responsible but also conscientious on what they are offering to the public,” said Gatchalian, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs.
During deliberations for the bill, Gatchalian raised concerns on counterfeit items getting more accessible through the use of online merchants.
“We should not allow these e-commerce marketplaces to rake in profits from illegal business practices. Consumers should be mindful of the quality of the items that they purchase online and they need to be assured that the products being offered to them are not harmful,” said Gatchalian.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.