Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Senate approves bill criminalizing fake delivery orders

The Senate on Monday, Jan. 17, approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 2302, which seeks to protect the general public from fake delivery bookings by making it a criminal act.

Senate Bill No. 2302 was authored by senators Lito Lapid, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri. It was sponsored by Pimentel.

Pimentel noted the alarming incidence of fake bookings and hoax-orders as more and more people rely on online bookings for food, groceries and medicines during the pandemic. He said passage of the bill into law would improve the protection afforded to delivery riders and drivers as well as the general public.

The proposed measure prohibits any scheme where the delivery driver and rider would have to make an advanced payment for the fulfilment of orders.

“This representation recently found out that an additional service called ‘Pabili or Pasabay’ is being offered by online delivery service providers wherein a customer may get the service of the online delivery service platform to buy products. It is the delivery driver or rider who advances the payment,” Pimentel said.

“If this bill is passed into law, that arrangement of the driver or rider advancing the money to fulfill an online order shall no longer be allowed,” he stressed.

Under the bill, delivery service providers shall also be required to foot the bill in case of hoax-orders.

“It is the online delivery service application (or app) provider who is in business and the delivery driver or rider is just an agent, to use an all-encompassing generic term, of the business. Hence, all losses of the business must be borne by the businessman, the app provider,” Pimentel explained.

Under the bill, delivery service providers who shall violate the act face imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding P100,000 and their licenses and permits revoked.

According to Pimentel, the bill requires the implementation of know-your-customer rules which shall entail the submission and verification of proof of identity and residential address of customers, subject to compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012. He said anonymity shall no longer be the ally of the fraudster.

Cancellation of confirmed orders, unless such option is allowed by the delivery service provider, would be deemed unlawful under the legislation. It would also be unlawful to place hoax-order or to refuse to receive an unpaid confirmed order under the proposed measure.

Any person who shall commit any of the prohibited acts as provided in the bill faces imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding P100,000.

“In light of the rising cases of unjust order cancellations and hoax-orders, there is an urgent need for the State to protect delivery drivers and riders of all food, grocery and pharmacy delivery services. Not only is this bill very timely during this pandemic, this measure will be relevant even after the pandemic because the internet has made all of us accustomed to online transactions and made many of us reliant on delivery services,” Pimentel said.

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