With the digital economy expanding faster than consumers can catch up, the Department of Trade and Industry is faced with a myriad of questions—and complaints—on how to protect and enforce consumer rights.
The answer, DTI offers, is simple: Practice! Get yourself informed using all digital means available.
“Consumer Rights in the Digital Age” is the central theme for DTI’s Consumer Welfare Month this October, and the agency has lined up activities strategically aimed at getting consumers to be more familiar and vigilant about their rights as buyers.
The highlight will be the forum on Consumer Rights in the Digital Age on October 20, when DTI is also expected to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines. The agency will also be launching its digital-based Frontline Queuing System for its Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau on October 25.
DTI Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua points out, “This celebration is the best opportunity for the Department to widen its reach to consumers and to accentuate the programs that will assist them in exercising their rights and be more participative on issues that will benefit them.”
But as a consumer, there are also several initiatives you can do, not just to take part in the activities, but to practice and strengthen your own knowledge of consumer rights:
Check out the e-Presyo website
The E-presyo website is DTI’s online price monitoring system. It contains all the items monitored under its Suggested Retail Price list, so that before you hit groceries and supermarkets, you can check for your item’s SRP. The e-presyo site is updated regularly, to include all basic commodites under the SRP list, nationwide. Those usually include staples like certain brands of noodles, canned goods, coffee, soap, and even bottled water. Consumers are entitled to know the SRP of the products they commonly purchase!
Visit DTI’s Diskuwento Caravan
On special occasions like this month, the DTI brings together manufacturers to sell their items at a discount of 10% up to even 50% at what’s called the “Diskuwento Caravan.” The caravan is located at the DTI’s headquarters in Gil Puyat Ave., Makati. The discount is given because the manufacturers don’t have to pay rent to sell at the given venue, which also allows them to promote their products. After you’ve checked your SRPs, head on to the caravan for some discounted items, it’s also a good place to see which kinds of items are usually on the SRP list.
Also just for this month, you can check out the “GoLokal” exhibit, at the East Wing Showroom of the DTI Headquarters. The DTI has chosen emerging suppliers and new products “with high market potential” not just on physical retail stores, but also on e-commerce. Aside from offering insight into trends, the agency hopes to promote support for local suppliers. The exhibit runs throughout the month, featuring a range of items from home décor, to toys, gifts, fashion, and even beauty and wellness.
“The advent of technology has opened various channels that cater to consumers’ needs instantly. But consumers need to be responsible each time that they resort to these channels in purchasing products and services. Thus, be wise, informed, and assertive consumers,” Usec. Pascua says.