20th Sep 2016

coins-in-hand

Yes, that is right. All consumers must be given the exact change by business establishments. The newly passed Republic Act No. 10909 mandate this in very clear terms.

The law prohibits business establishments from giving insufficient or no change to consumers, and provides penalties ranging from Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) or three percent of the gross sales of the business establishment on the day of the violation, whichever of these is higher, for the first offense, and increasing up to a fine of Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos or ten percent (10%) of the gross sales of the business establishment on the day of the violation, whichever of these amounts are higher, for subsequent offenses. Suspension of operations and even revocation of the license to operate the business, are additional penalties for multiple infractions, as where businesses refuse to give change repeatedly.

Republic Act No. 10909 punishes sole proprietorships, partnerships, or corporations, including government owned or controlled corporations, engaged in the sale of goods or provision of services. When a consumer purchases goods or services from a business establishment, it is the obligation of the business establishment to give the exact change to the customer when excess payment is given for the goods or services purchased, and without waiting for the customer to ask for the same.

It is unlawful for any business to shortchange (give insufficient change) the consumer, even if such change is only a small amount. Of course, the business establishment may give more than the change actually due to the customer, if only to avoid a violation of the law.

Indeed, change is coming and it is inevitable. Republic Act NO. 10909 prohibits business establishments which sell goods or services to give the change in a form other than the present currency, or to ask the consumers for permission to be exempted from the provisions of Republic Act NO. 10909 for any reason, including non-availability of small bills or coins.

The law also reiterates the duty of all business establishments to use price tags indicating the exact retail price per unit or service, including applicable taxes. The taxes incorporated in the retail price should properly be reflected in the official receipt, so that the consumer can determine the exact change due to them.

And for businesses who do not agree that change is coming, consumers may file letter complaints with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) not later than ten (10) working days after the violation has been committed. It will be up to the DTI to investigate, implement and ensure that change is coming the way of the consumer. A decision should be issued by the DTI not later than thirty (30) days from receipt of the complaint.

 Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices is a full service law firm in the Philippines. You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 4706126, +632 4706130, +632 4016392.

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