No additional charges on the sale price if payment is made other than in cash

Dear PAO,

Last weekend, my family, our friends and I had dinner at a restaurant. We were short on cash so opted to pay the bill through GCash. However, one of the staff informed us that there will be additional charges if we pay other than cash. Can an institution do this?

Kaycee

Dear Kaycee,

Please review Section 2 of Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI) Administrative Order (DAO) 21-03, Series of 2021, which provides as follows:

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“Section 2. Mandatory Provision of Payment Options. No person or business engaged in the sale or offering for sale of consumer products and services shall impose a ” PAYMENT ONLY ” method of payment on consumers. Consumers shall have the option of paying in cash, in instalments, or a combination of both. Refusal of the consumer’s right to pay in cash is a prima facie breach of Article 52 of the Consumer Law. Provided that the seller does not be not precluded from offering a discount on the sale price if payment is made in cash.Provided further that the sale price remains the same, that the method of payment is by debit/credit/prepaid cards, codes QR, electronic funds transfers or other digital means available to consumers.” (Underlining and emphasis provided)

It is the policy of the state to protect the interests of consumers, promote their general welfare, and establish standards of conduct for business and industry, pursuant to Section 2 of the Act of the Republic 7394, known as the “Philippine Consumer Law”.

In addition, article 52 of the said law provides that an act or practice is deemed unfair or inadmissible when the producer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller, taking advantage of physical or mental infirmity, ignorance, illiteracy, lack of time or the general conditions of the environment or the neighborhood, incites the consumer to conclude a sale or rental transaction manifestly contrary to the interests of the consumer or manifestly unilateral in favor of the producer , manufacturer, distributor, supplier or seller. The act or practice may occur before, during or after the consumer’s transaction.

It is clear from the above provision that there should be no additional charge on the sale price if the mode of payment is by debit/credit/prepaid cards, QR codes, electronic funds transfers or other available digital means , depending on the preferences of the buyer. A violation of this provision may constitute a violation not only of the DTI-DAO, but also of the Consumer Law of the Philippines for which the violator may be punished.

We hope we were able to answer your questions. This advice is based solely on the facts you have related and our assessment of them. Our opinion may change when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily chronicle of the public ministry. Questions for Chef Acosta can be sent to [email protected]

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