Daily Tribune (Philippines)

DTI: Caveat emptor for online deals

With this, the trade department has reminded the public to be vigilant especially when engaging in online transactio­ns

- BY RAFFY AYENG

Virtual stores became dominant during the pandemic period and even beyond under the “new normal” but the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said complaints against business platforms have risen in the past two months of 2022.

According to the DTI, the Internet has made online shopping too easy.

“Find an item you love, click the buy button and get a package delivered right at the customer’s doorstep” was how quick the process through online shops are, according to the DTI.

The prevalence of online shopping also heightened the use of digital payments such as e-wallets and online banking but these transactio­ns do not always go smoothly and thus safeguardi­ng personal and financial informatio­n remains an urgent task.

Records from DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcemen­t Bureau said as of 28 February, the agency had received 4,944 complaints from online shoppers within the National Capital Region alone against 31,372 a year ago.

DTI’s Consumer Protection Group also gets queries and complaints from consumers daily, as in recent months most of those received and acted on were related to online shopping.

With this, the trade department has reminded the public to be vigilant especially when engaging in online transactio­ns.

It advised consumers to use hard-to-guess passwords and not to use the a password for online shopping sites that customers use for logging into their bank accounts and work computers.

Also, they advised consumers to never share login informatio­n with anybody.

“Always check the website if it has a Secured Socket Layer Certificat­e to confirm its legitimacy. This protects informatio­n (such as credit card numbers, addresses and passwords) sent to the website. Select merchants carefully. Confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number beforehand and review its return policy to avoid product return issues,” the DTI reminded.

Finally, the DTI advised customers to always check the Uniform Resource Locator at the beginning of the website.

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