MANILA - The government needs to set up an “E-Commerce Bureau” to deal with the rising number of complaints about undelivered, fake and damaged goods sold on online shopping platforms, a lawmaker said on Friday.
Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian said that with e-commerce exploding in growth as consumers and businessmen move to online shopping and selling, fraud complaints have also risen from around 2,000 cases before the pandemic to over 14,000 currently.
Gatchalian, who authored House Bill No. 6122 or the Internet Transactions Act, said consumers need to be protected from online scams but there is currently no law compelling online platforms to ensure their safety.
Under the proposed bill, online shopping platforms could be shut down if they are found to be selling fake goods.
A similar bill in the Senate had earlier been criticized by online shopping companies over a provision holding online shopping platforms “jointly and solidary liable” with online merchants for products sold that do not comply with intellectual property, consumer protection, and other laws.
They said the provision, along with the mandatory registration requirement for online merchants and e-commerce platforms, could dampen the growth of the digital economy.
Gatchalian defended the proposed law saying it would make online shopping more attractive to consumers.
“It would increase sales and revenues when consumers have peace of mind and are being protected,” Gatchalian said in an interview with ANC.
The lawmaker said the E-Commerce Bureau would be a one-stop shop for online shopping issues under the Department of Trade and Industry.