Online shoppers warned vs buying ‘mystery packages’

Online shoppers warned vs buying ‘mystery packages’

/ 05:48 AM February 08, 2024

PHOTO: Closeup of hand using cellphone. STORY: Online shoppers warned vs buying ‘mystery packages’ stock images

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) cautioned online shopping aficionados on Wednesday against the rising popularity of “mystery boxes,” saying these might contain items coming from illegal sources.

While Undersecretary Amanda Marie Nograles of the DTI consumer protection group conceded that some online shoppers may find it exciting to buy packages without knowing their contents, they could also easily become victims of swindling.


“So the warning from the DTI is for our online shoppers who purchase these mystery parcels to first make sure that, one, [they know] where these parcels originated; and two, if these come from unclaimed packages from the Bureau of Customs, they must make sure that they are properly cleared [for reselling],” she said.


Nograles issued the reminder amid the growing practice among online shopping platforms to sell “mystery parcels” — unclaimed or undelivered packages — for as low as P50.

She clarified that while the sale of these mystery packages may be likened to an auction which was considered legal, the buyer may be held criminally liable should the items turn out to be stolen.

Pilfered goods

“There may be instances wherein the items being sold were pilfered or stolen from the storage facility of the Bureau of Customs. The anti-fencing law may apply for which online buyers must also be wary about,” Nograles warned.

The practice may also be a violation of the Data Privacy Act, as sellers merely cover the names and addresses of the original recipients of the parcels, but expose their details to strangers, she noted.

“This is why we in the DTI are trying to find possible solutions on how we can protect our buyers against this practice on the sale of stolen goods,” Nograles said.

READ: Online shopping fraud worries 93% of Filipinos


According to her, the growing popularity of online shopping has prompted the DTI to conduct a “constant monitoring” of online stores, not just for mystery parcels, but for all applicable laws on the sale of goods.

The DTI official also expressed concern that the trend may be exploited by unscrupulous individuals who may prey on parcels coming from overseas Filipino workers who have valid recipients in the Philippines.

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