Lawmaker to stores: ‘Give exact amount of change’

Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines
Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines

Businesses that fail to hand the exact amount of change to customers may be penalized and face jail-time.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian has filed House Bill 4433, which seeks to amend Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

Gatchalian said in a statement that the bill, when once enacted, seeks to stop the practice of many enterprises like supermarkets of handing candies instead of paying the exact amount of change to customers.

“RA 7394 is a government regulation that is aimed at protecting consumers’ rights and welfare. It has been in existence for 22 years with some minor amendments. In order to be responsive to the prevailing times, this measure intends to add another provision in Article 52 to further protect consumers,” Gatchalian stated.

According to Gatchalian, Article 52 of RA 7394 stated that an unfair or unreasonable sales act or practice by a seller or supplier in connection with a consumer transaction violates Chapter I – Deceptive, Unfair and Unconscionable Sales Acts or Practices, whether it occurs before, during or after the consumer transaction.

Moreover, Gatchalian said an act shall be deemed unfair whenever the producer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller, by taking advantage of the environment or surroundings, induces the consumer or gross one-side in favor of the producer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller.

He proposed to amend Article 48 by providing additional circumstance by including that the consumer transaction was denied because of an alleged shortage of coins or change on the part of the seller.

He said that in the process, the consumer is shortchanged by the giving of candies or other items in lieu of money as change or when due to lack of time.

Under the bill, violators face one-year imprisonment and a fine of not more than P10,000. IMT