Bill protecting online customers okayed

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By: Manila Standard

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Trade and Industry has approved a bill creating the Electronic Commerce Bureau to protect online consumers and merchants.

“This bill seeks to regulate all business-to-business and business-to-consumer commercial transactions conducted over the internet, including those related to internet retail, online travel, online media, ride hailing services, and digital financial services,” Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian, the panel chairman, said.

The committee-approved measure will not cover consumer-to-consumer transactions, or those considered petty, one-off, or occasional low value transactions.

The proposed law also makes online platforms, including Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora, solidarily liable with their own merchants if these platforms fail to exercise ordinary diligence; know or should have known that items in their platform do not comply with law, and they fail to take necessary measures; fail to publish the details of their merchants as required under the bill; or if they permit an online merchant, not duly registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies, to offer its goods and services for sale through their platform.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian added that the proposed eCommerce Bureau “will only have authority over those activities which are currently not regulated but are nevertheless conducted over the internet.”

“Any regulation of the eCommerce Bureau that may affect regulated industries shall only be ancillary to the government agency or instrumentality exercising primary jurisdiction over that specific activity,” he said.HOuse

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