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DTI urges business establishments to give exact change

By Atty. Maria Aurora R. Curaza-Maquiling & Marson Jan S.

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 2 (PIA) - The Department of Trade and Industry – Caraga Regional Office urges business establishments to give the exact change.

Consumers have been clamoring against the practice of distributors, suppliers, sellers and retail stores on shortchanging or giving insufficient amount of change by reason of lack of coins in their cash registers. Some establishments give candies instead of the exact change.

There is shortchanging when vendors give less change than what is due in a transaction, telling their customers that they do not have coins available.

Shortchanging and the giving of candies as legal tender are considered as unfair or unconscionable sales act or practice which are punishable under Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

Under Article 52 of the Act, an act or practice shall be deemed unfair or unconscionable whenever the producer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller, by taking advantage of the consumer's physical or mental infirmity, ignorance, illiteracy, lack of time or the general conditions of the environment or surroundings, induces the consumer to enter into a sales or lease transaction grossly inimical to the interests of the consumer or grossly one-sided in favor of the producer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller.

Any person who shall violate the provisions shall upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than P500 but not more than P10,000.00 or imprisonment of not less than five months but not more than one year or both, upon the discretion of the court.

Consumers are encouraged to file consumer complaints against establishments for shortchanging. They can file their complaints at the nearest DTI Provincial Office. (DTI-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)