Rey Anthony H. Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, October 28, 2011, (PIA) –Just as Consumer Act of the Philippines outlaws the “no return, no exchange policy” the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Bohol adds, there is even no time limit as to the return of shoddy or defective goods.
At the recent Kapihan sa PIA commemorating Consumer Consciousness Month, DTI Bohol consumer division head Jose Hibaya said the law is not specific on the time limit for return of defective items.
Change of mind or later finding out that a similar item is priced lower on the other store as a reason for change of goods however is not acceptable, he said.
The issue came just as ConsumerWatch Bohol, an outreach program of the Holy Name Alumni Association reported that they have facilitated the linking of consumers and agencies concerned over complaints of shoddy goods and imperfect services, a fact that was not as practiced then.
ConsumerWatch Bohol advocates Gloria Araneta and Neneng Corales could not contain their elation over the apparent positive effects of the advocacy to inform consumers of their rights and responsibilities.
The bulk of calls and text messages we handle during our radio programs is telling, shares Araneta of ConsumerWatch’s Timbangan’s Tuesday late afternoons weekly radio program.
ConsumerWatch gives free seminars and services to consumer groups requesting for education and information on consumer rights as well as handles a regular radio program as a half-way house for complaints and remedies for customer dissatisfaction.
It may be recalled that there was a time when sales receipts of stores and establishments bore the “no return, no exchange policy” which has deterred consumers from asserting their rights.
Since then, there has been issued prohibitions of the policy as DTI cites the implementing rues and regulations of the consumer act of the Philippines.
According to the DTI, the prohibition is aimed to correct the misconception that consumers do not have the right to return defective items.
Consumers are entitled to either exchange or refund, as long as it is proven that there has been a hidden defect in the item and that this is not caused by customer mishandling of the goods, Hibaya explained at the radio forum aired live over DyTR.
At the same radio forum, Hibaya said that while they accept consumer complaints, it is not the DTI which supervises over all the goods and services available in the market.
For complaints channeled to the DTI, Hibaya said most have been remedied through mediation, one of the most effective ways of satisfying consumers through DTI intervention.
Fir other tough cases, Hibaya said the DTI assures action by linking the complaints to the agency concerned within five days at most, but a day at the very least.(30