Bam seeks amendment of Consumer Act to cover ICT ads

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In a move to give the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) more teeth against erring businesses and enhance consumer protection, Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino IV has filed a measure amending the 24-year-old Consumer Act of the Philippines.

bam aquino

“In order to build stronger commercial systems and maintain thriving markets, there is a need to bolster the rights of consumers and we need to do this at the soonest possible time,” Aquino said in Senate Bill No. 1241 or the Revised Consumer Act of the Philippines.

The lawmaker said the bill provides greater protection to consumers, particularly from false and deceptive advertising using mobile phones and the Internet.

Aquino earlier proposed that telcos be required to remove or clarify terms such as ?unlimited? or ?up to? with regard to the speed and amount of data offered in their broadband advertisements.

Furthermore, the measure mandates manufacturers to maintain a consumer hotline or service center that consumers can easily reach for complaints and inquiries by phone, email or other effective means.

The measure will place the National Consumer Affairs Council (NCAC) under the Office of the DTI Secretary to give it more independence and power.

It will also be expanded to include the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Energy, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Information and Communication Technology.

Businesses offering price-discounted rates for single or bulk purchase of products or services will be exempted from the requirement to secure a sales promotion permit, alleviating them of the added burden. This move will help to facilitate e-commerce in the country, Aquino said.

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