25 February 2012

No Return, No Exchange?

In Good Housekeeping magazine's January-February 2012 issue, they have an article on consumer rights that's quite timely now that we're about to buy things for the house. We were surprised to find that many of what we thought were standard practice turned out to be illegal...

They interviewed Zenaida C. Maglaya, Undersecretary for Consumer Welfare and Trade Regulation Group of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to help clarify the "No return, no exchange" policy and surcharges for credit card use. Here are excerpts from the article:

Is the Customer ALWAYS Right?
by Mari-An C. Santos

- Surcharging when you charge

To settle the issue on store policies regarding the use of credit cards, Maglaya cites the DTI DOA 10 Series of 2006: "Rules on Price Tags/Labels and Providing Prohibition against the Imposition of a Surcharge, Extra Charge or Additional Charge in the Use of Credit/Automated Teller Machine/Debit Cards for Payment of Purchases of Consumer Products or Services."

That is, you must not pay anything over and above the price indicated on the tag or any item you would like to purchase.

- Can a store have a "No return, no exchange" policy?

Simply put, no. According to the Consumer Act of the Philippines, the words "No return, no exchange" or words to such effect shall not be written into the contract of sale, receipt of sales transaction, in any documents as evidence of sale, or anywhere in the store or business establishment. In this way, consumers are reassured that they have the right to return defective goods or demand remedies, in case of imperfect service.

Should you find that a store is in violation of the the prohibition on "No return, no exchange" policy, you can file a complaint with DTI. Simply provide the following information:

1. Your name and address, and that of the firm/entity being complained about
2. Acts of omissions constituting the offense including the approximate date, place, and time of its commission
3. Remedy you are seeking from the DTI, other than the damages
4. Other relevant information

- Can a store exercise only a policy of exchange but not refund?

Consumers are entitled to either an exchange or refund, as long as there is a defect in the quality of goods or imperfection in the service.

- Can I return defective goods without the official receipt?

The official receipt is the best proof of purchase. However, you may still demand replacement or refund if you can prove that a defective item was bought from a certain store.

- Can a store impose the condition that items can only be exchanged once?

No. Merchandise can be exchanged many times, as long as the consumer chooses the option of replacement.


I called up DTI and Erica told me that these policies are also applicable to custom-made furniture and not just clothes or things you can get from a mall.

She also said that for furniture (e.g. kitchen cabinets), the supplier is OBLIGATED to fix any shoddy workmanship for free. Hmmm... calling Cusm Furniture Shop...

And you know how stores give a lower price for cash purchases (books, appliances, etc.)? Erica said that they're not allowed to do that. If they offer a lower price, you should be able to use your credit card to buy the item at that price.

There's more about refunds and claiming warranties in the article but way too long to post here. The magazine is still available in newsstands.

Visit www.dti.gov.ph and www.dtincr.ph for more information.

For immediate action and to report sellers who violate consumer rights, call DTI Direct: 751 3330 or send them an email:

Mr. Ferdinand Manfoste
Assistant Regional Director


Mommy M said...

sis, have you seen yung mga appliances na may cash price at 0% daw?

pag bumili ka the 0% pala applies lang to the 'credit card price' which is more than the cash price.

nakabili kasi kami ng LCD TV sa robinson's galleria. naturally, i was attracted sa 0% offer. tapos ang price na naka-post is 17k. pero ang credit card price to get the 12 months 0% is 20k. so difference of 3k agad yun.

yung pinagawan ko ng kitchen cabinets, Francisco Furniture... hindi na nagparamdam when they said babalik sila kinabukasan to fix my dirty/stained cabinets.

yung nag-crack sa gitna na sabi pa nung father ng kausap ko eh papalitan ng kahoy na buo... naku yung mga dati pa din ang binalik! minasilyahan lang. but now the cracks have again revealed themselves.

haayyy dapat yang mga ganyang unscrupulous suppliers hindi nagtatagal ang business para hindi nakakaloko ng ibang tao. KARMA na lang to them!

Mommy M said...

baka ang sinasabi lang na dapat walang 'surcharge' is yung straight purchases.

dati kasi iba talaga ang cash price sa credit card price for straight purchases (meaning hindi installment).

binasa ko din kasi yung mga websites ng credit cards ko... nakalagay pa din dun the promo/sale is dependent on the terms and conditions of the merchant.

so yung 0% is actually rendered useless kasi parang interest na din yung 3k na difference sa binili namin... buti me mga freebies na dvd player at speaker system, pero out of stock, sa March pa daw makukuha.

dun ko na lang sa overall value binase ang decision to avail.

di ka na puntang Germany? :-)


Nicole said...

Hi Jen! =)

Cusm Furniture never came back to the house either and just said "sorry." I think that's really bad customer service and Erica from DTI told me I COULD file a complaint. I am sooo tempted - the only person stopping me is Earl as Uncle Mel is his Dad's cousin.

Everyone I have talked to about this (including Erica) said that if there's someone who should really look after you well, it's relatives. I heartily agree but sadly, that's not happening so I too will be hoping for karma…

In your case, I'd really suggest that you send DTI an email with all the details. With these types of suppliers, they are never going to learn unless they feel pain. And even if nothing happens, knowing that a complaint has been lodged with the government will make ME feel so much better (hahaha! =)

Erica from DTI didn't specify about straight purchases. She just said that cash and credit card prices should be the same. I'll try to call them again next week and double check (hopefully I don't forget).

As to Germany, unfortunately that is not pushing through. Singapore, on the other hand, is still not clear. Hopefully, we'll know soon so that we can really move on with our lives.

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