Gatchalian pushes Internet Transactions Act to protect consumers

Published September 4, 2020, 11:37 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Friday the passage of the proposed Internet Transactions Act will help protect consumers amid the radical changes in the country’s business climate with more online entrepreneurs now registering.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

Gatchalian said it is imperative that all government regulatory bodies and online shopping platforms “get their acts together” to track down and protect consumers from unethical and unscrupulous business practices on the Internet as more and more people are now shifting to online transactions.

While e-Commerce will undoubtedly make transactions faster and easier while strengthening the country’s digital economy, consumers run the risk of being fooled into buying products that may be detrimental to their health.

“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,” Gatchalian said.

“Walang habol ang online buyers kung may problema sa nabiling produkto (Online buyers cannot complain if there are problems with the product they bought). They are left holding the bag,” he added.

“So this is something that the bill, (Senate Bill No. 1591) wants to solve –
to make online platforms liable so that they can keep track of the supplies they’re selling in the marketplace,” the senator stressed.

During the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce hearing Thursday, the lawmaker quizzed top online selling platforms like Lazada and Shopee why it was selling brands of coffee mix and protein powder that in their e-commerce sites despite the products being flagged by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Gatchalian said not all consumers go to the FDA and searches their website.

“If these products are being sold in these platforms there’s a big chance that we may be fooled and consumers will buy it and take all of these things to the detriment of their health,” he said.

“Obviously, the platforms are not doing enough to stop these kinds of unscrupulous activities in their own platform,” he said.

The lawmaker reiterated it is paramount to enact the bill into law to resolve the key concerns in the country’s e-Commerce industry such as Internet and logistics infrastructure, payment mechanisms, taxation, and online consumer complaints.