• Melo Acuna

ECommerce soars due to COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 boosts online transactions as complaints rise

MANILA – While more Filipino consumers shifted to online transactions since the COVID-19 pandemic begun, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Consumer Protection Group noted the increase in complaints filed with their office.

Speaking at the weekly Tapatan sa Aristocrat (Virtual Edition) Monday morning, Asst. Secretary Ann Clair Credo-Cabochan said there were 522 complaints filed on online transactions in 2016. However, from January to June 2020, the Department of Trade recorded 10,323 cases.

There were 848 complaints on electronic transactions in 2017 and 1,451 in 2018 while 2,457 complaints were received in 2019.

Meanwhile, Atty. Victorio Mario Dimagiba, former Trade and Industry Undersecretary, said consumers have to be wary of attractive offerings from online sellers.

“The offer may be too good to be true,” Atty. Dimagiba said. He added a registry on online businesses is imperative to easily identify who among the suppliers are into nefarious and other unfair practices and activities.

Meanwhile, UP College of Law Professor JJ Disini said the Philippines is one of the two remaining countries which has strict banking secrecy laws thereby making the country attractive to nefarious businessmen.

“It is difficult to go after scammers who use the country’s tight banking secrecy laws,” he said. He explained changes to existing laws would make law enforcement more responsive in helping consumers who fall prey to shady businessmen.

Speaking about the increase in online transactions, Asst. Secretary Credo-Cabochan said “it reflects consumer migration to online platforms which became necessary during the lockdown.” (Melo M. Acuña)

Trade and Industry Asst. Secretary Ann Clair Credo-Cabochan. (Screen grab from Tapatan sa Aristocrat/Melo M. Acuna)

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