ONLINE transactions are making life easier for many Filipinos nowadays. But we should be very careful in dealing with this new way of doing business even if the ones involved are the biggest names in online trade.
This is because two of the country’s top online shopping applications have been recorded as having the most number of transaction complaints with the government.
An executive from the Trade Department said 6,907 of the total 14,869 online purchase-related complaints from January to October this year were against shopping apps Lazada and Shopee.
Compared to the full year of 2019, complaints against Lazada grew more than triple from 1,014 complaints to 3,475 for the first 10 months of the year.
Those against Shopee increased over five times in just 10 months from 607 complaints at end-2019 to 3,432 complaints from January to October 2020.
Ninety percent of the total online complaints from October 2020 are against two of the more familiar platforms, said DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group Ruth Castelo R. Castelo, referring to Lazada and Shopee.
The remaining complaints last month involved transactions on Facebook and other online platforms.
Most of the online complaints of consumers were in violation of the Price Act, defective products, and deceptive, unfair, or unconscionable sales acts or practices.
The lower House’s Committee on Trade and Industry conducted the meeting following the growing report on online fraud.
In recent months, the story of a student from Guimaras named Arthur Baylon went viral after he ordered a laptop on Lazada but only received stones upon delivery. Another online shopper also received wooden blocks instead of two cellphones she ordered online.
The Committee also discussed the recent spate of internet scams and fake online bookings, particularly pranks in food delivery.
Meanwhile, online cash transfers proved to be very disappointing too. Take the case of a trader who transferred money via GCash.
She used GCash to move funds to her Banco De Oro account last month but the money still can’t be found until now.
More frustrating is that one can only talk to an answering machine when you call the firm’s number for customer service.
GCash is the online payment system business of Globe Telecoms headed by respected businessman Ernest Cu.
Cu should take a look at how GCash is performing and bring some improvements in its service. But this may take time for Cu as Globe Telecoms itself is having signal problems that remain unsolved for years, saddening millions of its customers.
The growing complaints against Globe and equally inefficient Smart Communications prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to consider shutting them down by next month if they don’t shape up.
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