‘Report establishments imposing extra charges on credit card buys’

Erwin P. Nicavera

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Negros Occidental is urging consumers to report establishments imposing additional charges on credit card purchases.

Engiemar Tupas, senior trade and industry development specialist of DTI-Negros Occidental, Monday, September 11, told SunStar Bacolod they have been receiving several complaints against establishments collecting additional charges from credit card holders.

In the last four days, he said at least six complaints were lodged at their office mostly against retail establishments, including travel agencies and ticketing offices, charging clients more than the actual purchase amount.

“One of the complainants used credit card in paying for a plane ticket, and the agency imposed a four percent additional charge. Establishments claimed it is intended for the bank,” Tupas said, adding that “this is illegal as it violates the rights and welfare of the consumers.”

Republic Act 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, provides that it is the policy of the state to protect the interest of the consumer, provide his general welfare, and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry.

Department Administrative Order No. 10 Series of 2006 reiterated the rules on price tags and provided prohibition against the imposition of a surcharge and extra or additional charge in the use of credit, automated teller machine (ATM), or debit cards for payment of purchases of consumer products and services.

Under which, credit, ATM and debit card holders must be protected from sellers or retailers who impose surcharges or additional amount over and above the price tag on the goods and services.

“Any person who violates the provisions for the first time shall be subjected to a fine of P200 to P5,000 or by imprisonment of six months to one year depending on the discretion of the court. A second conviction shall carry with it the penalty of revocation of business permit and license,” it added.

Aside from travel agencies and ticketing offices, other reported erring establishments in the province include retail stores.

Tupas pointed out that allowing the use of credit cards is a marketing strategy for the establishments to attract more customers resulting to increase in sales.

As some customers find it more convenient in paying their purchases using credit cards, they should not pay additional charges, Tupas said.

“We are in the process of calling the attention of these erring establishments, requiring them to return the additional charges they have imposed on the customers,” he added.