Internet Transactions Act to penalize online shopping platforms selling fake items

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants to hold e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada accountable for selling fake products online through the Internet Transactions Act.

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Also known as Senate Bill No. 1591, the act aims to implement strict regulations to protect consumers from unethical and unscrupulous business practices online. During a Senate Inquiry, the senator warned consumers about buying supplements online mentioning cautionary advice from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Under the bill, online merchants and shopping platforms that will sell fake or unregistered items will have to pay  a “fine equivalent to 100 percent of the amount of the digital goods offered.”

Online shopping platforms and online sellers who will also fail to provide complete details of the shop and goods they sell may also be charged between PHP 500,000 to PHP 5 million, along with the revocation of the violator’s business permit with the court’s discretion.

The senator also mentioned that the existing laws in the Philippines regarding the deterrence of production and sale of fake items do not cover overseas sellers, therefore, the responsibility goes to the online platforms.

“This is a dilemma of the future. There are a lot of online platforms right now and they have the entire marketplace where suppliers can get all the products all over the world. Walang habol ang online buyers kung may problema sa nabili nilang produkto. They are left holding the bag. So, this is something that the bill wants to solve – to make online platforms liable so that they can keep track of the supplies they’re selling in the marketplace,” Gatchalian said.

According to the Optical Media Board (OMB), there are around 900,000 items being sold in the country through these e-commerce platforms without license or permits.

Apart from consumer protection, the bill aims to resolve internet and logistics infrastructure, payment mechanisms, taxation, and online consumer complaints in the country’s e-commerce industry.

Sources: Senate of the Philippines, ABS-CBN News

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