Republic Act 10909, otherwise known as the Exact Change Law, deemed passed last July 21 after the bill lapsed into law, prohibits business establishments from giving customers insufficient change.
The law aims to protect consumers against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices; institutionalize the practice of giving exact change, educate consumers in the exercise of their rights and provide a means of correcting violations.
This means retail stores and other establishments are no longer allowed to use candies or other items as change and are duty bound to give the exact change without being asked.
The new law also requires the establishment to use price tags, indicating the exact retail price per unit, including the taxes applicable to the goods or services being offered.
“These establishments shall also put signs in conspicuous places within the establishment or reflect in the official receipts issued the taxes incorporated in the retail price per unit of goods or services to avoid misleading the consumers on the exact price they have to pay and the exact change due them,” Section 4 of the Act read.
The measure allows consumers to file a complaint within 10 days from a transaction and requires the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to investigate in 10 days or less after receiving a written complaint and rule on it within 30 days.
Violators, face closure and a fine of P500 to P25,000 or 10 percent of gross sales, whichever is higher.
First offense is punishable with P500 fine or three percent of gross sales, whichever is higher; and for second offense, a P5,000 fine or five percent of gross sales.
A third-time offender will be fined P15,000 or seven percent of gross sales, whichever is higher, aside from suspension of operations for three months.
Fourth offense is punishable with P25,000 fine and closure of the business.
The measure was filed in response to numerous complaints from consumers about the practice of business establishments of not giving the exact change or of giving the change in kind such as candies.
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