Couriers of items bought over e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee are practically frontliners too amid the COVID-19 pandemic and must enjoy protection by law, Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera said.
Herrera filed House Bill (HB) No.7559 or the proposed “Magna Carta of E-Commerce Delivery Personnel" to ensure the safety and welfare of e-commerce delivery contractors by promoting cashless payment for home deliveries and penalizing cancellation of cash on delivery (COD) transactions.
She said it is “only right and just” to provide wider protection to these delivery riders, who have become “inadvertent frontliners” in the fight against COVID-19.
“In order to increase efficiency and protect the welfare of delivery riders whose lives put at stake to keep us safe within our homes, this bill seeks to provide more secure measures to these service providers and penalize those who unreasonably and inconveniently cancel their orders upon delivery,” said the Deputy Majority Leader.
Herrera said cashless transaction not only prevents virus transmission through the passing of currency notes but also protects delivery workers from unscrupulous customers.
“Customers are more responsible for their purchases when they opt to pay online and in advance, while delivery rider simply transport the items to the customers’ homes without having to bear the costs,” she explained.
Herrera cited a growing number of cases in which customers cancel their orders upon delivery even if the e-commerce courier has already paid and prepared the items in advance.
“As a result, the delivery rider loses precious time and money, while they are stuck with the customer’s cancelled order,” Herrera said, noting that a typical delivery driver earns a meager monthly salary of P15,000 to P20,000 to support himself and his family.
“Cancellations for cash deliveries create a triple burden for the delivery riders as they waste time, shoulder expenses, and expose themselves to the dangers of being infected,” she added.
Herrera’s bill seeks to prohibit the cancellation by any customer of confirmed orders upon delivery. Violators could face a jail term of one to three months and a fine ranging from P10,000 to P50,000.
The proposed measure also provides that “it shall be unlawful for any customer to cancel confirmed orders if the items have already been paid by the delivery rider, is in possession of the delivery driver, or in transit to the customer.” Violators could be fined up to P50,000.
Those who will be found guilty of any of the two prohibited acts shall also reimburse the online seller and delivery service provider for the value of the item and delivery service fee. The amount of the reimbursement will be twice the cost of confirmed order and delivery fee pertaining to the cancellation.
The bill likewise imposes harsher penalties for those who shall post their cancellations on social media for purposes of pranking, gaining popularity or notoriety, and vlogging, among others.
This carries the penalty of one- to- three-year imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P150,000, as well as payment of damages to the seller or delivery service provider. Such damages shall be in the amount determined by the court and must be accompanied by a public apology.