Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Is the Price Tag Law (R.A. 71) and (DAO 10) Department Administrative Order No. 10 Effective?

This afternoon my wife and I went to Gilmore, Quezon City with the intention to purchase an ASUS Eee PC 1000H. We went straight to the store and asked about the unit but was almost convinced by the person we talked to, who seemed to be the owner of the store, to purchase the MSI Wind because of its cheaper price. For the same specifications (Intel Atom 1.6 GHz, 2GB RAM, 6-cell battery, 160 GB HDD) the MSI Wind cost only P24,900 and the ASUS Eee PC 1000H, P26,500. But when we said that we will be purchasing using a credit card, they then added P3,000 to both prices, but explained it as the higher price being the regular price (card price) and the lower price as the discounted price (cash price).

If you have heard of Republic Act 71 (R.A 71) or the Price Tag Law and Department Administrative Order No. 10 (DAO 10) which orders the ban on surcharges on retail transactions using credit cards, debit cards and automated teller machine cards, then you might feel the way I felt when I saw the price difference. I felt that the merchants who practice this just found a way around the law. And I am not even sure if they are breaking the law or not.

But this experience has made me think about this, "Is the Price Tag Act (R.A. 71) and the Department Administrative Order No. 10 (DAO 10) effective in protecting consumers?" Because , if in practice, difference in cash prices and card prices are still present no matter how merchants explain it, then I think the law hasn't really accomplished its purpose.

In fairness to merchants, I am aware that they sometimes need to resort to the difference in prices because of the charges made by credit card companies. But, what about the consumers? Should they carry that burden or at least share it with the retailers? Should there be a new law passed to finally end this difference in prices?

For now, I guess we are left to what is available. But one thing is sure, if things continue to be like this, many merchants who practice this may face losing customers. Like today, I ended up not making the purchase because of the large price difference. I may wait to make the purchase 2 to 3 weeks from now, when cash is already available but I'm not intending to go back to the same store.