E-commerce complaints surge during lockdown: DTI

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2020 12:24 PM

E-commerce complaints surge during lockdown: DTI 1
An e-commerce app interface is shown in this file photo. As more Filipinos shop online during the coronavirus lockdown, complaints also rise. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- Online transaction complaints surged while Filipinos are on lockdown, government data released Thursday showed, highlighting the need for consumer protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From April to May 2020, e-commerce complaints rose 78.2 percent to 8,059, from 985 in the January to March period, data from the Department of Trade and Industry showed. 

The most popular complaints are price related such as overpricing, followed by defective products, poor customer service, advertising or sales promo and deceptive practices, data showed.

Complaints involving Facebook Marketplace and other online platforms rose by 62.16 percent. Facebook has not returned a request for comment from ABS-CBN News. 

Lazada and Shoppe also received complaints, although lower compared to Facebook Marketplace, said Valenzuela 1st District Rep. Wes Gatchalian, who led the hearing, citing DTI data.

Lazada is currently compiling the total number of complaints for submission to the committee as it assured lawmakers that it is "self-regulating" when it comes to sellers on its platforms, CEO Ray Alimurung said. 

Lazada is "very willing to cooperate with authorities and regulators," Alimurung said. 

The data was presented during a House Committee on Trade and Industry Hearing on House Bill 6122 or the protection of consumers and merchants involved on e-commerce. 

Gatchalian said the bill was timely as it sought the creation of an E-Commerce Bureau under the DTI to ensure liability of sellers and platforms in case of wrongdoing.

It also has a provision to ensure sellers and online platforms where they operate become “jointly and severally liable” for complaints and wrongdoing, Gatchalian said.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda also filed a bill aiming to tax Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Google and other global internet companies that do businesses in the country. 

The BIR mandated all online sellers to register their business by July 31. Filipinos are among the top Internet and social media users in the world, based on a study by creative agency We Are Social.