Gov’t agency advises consumers to exercise vigilance when buying

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) advised consumers to be vigilant, and most importantly, exercise their right to choose in buying to ensure that whatever they buy is worth their hard-earned peso.

“The availability of a wide array of goods and services with differences in appearance, price and quality gives our consumers a lot of options and this is really good,” stated Trade and Industry Undersecretary for Consumer Welfare Zenaida Cuison Maglaya.

Cuison added that some supermarkets are already carrying house brands that are a lot cheaper by as much as 15 to 20 percent and the quality is the same because they go through the same process of inspection and necessary registration from government agencies such as the Bureau of Food and Drugs.

She further explained that house brands come in competitive prices because they do not spend too much on advertising and packaging.
Another assurance in the quality of house brands is that they carry the name of establishment itself and business would not ruin their established name by offering inferior products and/or services.

“Having wide range of choices gives the consumers that advantage of looking for a cheaper option with products which are at par with the branded ones,” said the undersecretary.

Maglaya also reminded consumers that buying entails more than just grabbing an item and lining up at the counter. “Be more vigilant and do a bit of evaluation to get exactly what is needed at the most affordable price.”

She also advised consumers to be more discerning by thoroughly reading the labels of products that they are buying.

As required by law, government is enforcing compulsory labeling to enable consumers to get accurate information as to the nature, quality and quantity of the contents of consumer products.

Minimum labeling requirements have been imposed for businesses to comply with such as registered trade or brand name, the business name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the general make or active ingredients, the net quantity of contents, and the country of manufacture.

Meanwhile, to help improve money-saving habits, here are some pointers to remember before shelling out that hard-earned money:

1. Avoid impulse buying, bring a shopping list and stick to it.

2. Check the price tag if it is already inclusive of taxes, discount or hidden charges.

3. Learn to compare prices. To determine the true value of a product, read the unit price, not just package price.

4. Inspect the merchandise. Be certain to check “expiration” and “use by” dates for the freshest products. In some cases such as mobile phones you can ask the seller to open the package item so you can examine it for possible defects. For appliances, it has to be tested right at the store before buying to detect any defects.

5. Products such as home appliances, construction materials, lighting and electrical equipment need to undergo testing by the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards before they can be sold in the market.

Once approved, they are labeled with the Philippine Standard (PS) or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) as a guide to consumers.

DTI encourage consumers to report any problem in price and/ or quality of products and/or services to DTI Direct 751-3330 open from Monday to Sunday from 8am to 5pm or text Secretary Favila at 09178063473.

The nearest DTI Regional or Provincial Offices are also ready to provide assistance. Complaint may also be sent by keying in DTImessage and send it to 2920 for both Globe and Smart subscribers. http://www.dti.gov.ph

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