The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB), issued Policy Advisory No. 22-01 on the Eight (8) Basic Consumer Rights. This is to elucidate the legal bases of the rights in guiding consumers on which laws to invoke in reference to their rights.The Eight (8) Basic Consumer Rights are the rights to Basic Needs, Safety, Information, Choice, Redress, Representation, Redress, Consumer Education, and a Healthy Environment.
In a special message to the US Congress on 15 March 1962, US President John F. Kennedy first outlined a vision of Consumer Rights. He stressed the relevance of safeguarding consumers against faulty or defective products and against misleading or deceptive advertising methods. Consumers Internationale, which consists of country consumer groups, supported this vision and conducted campaigns on consumer rights. Consequently, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) issued Resolution 1984/63, United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, adopting the Consumer Rights, on 26 July 1984. During the 106th United Nations Plenary Meeting on 09 April 1985, the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection were elaborated through ECOSOC Resolution 39/248. The UN ECOSOC expanded this to include Sustainable Consumption through Resolution 1999/7, and during the 81st United Nations Plenary Meeting on 22 December 2015, the Second Committee adopted Resolution 70/186 on Consumer Protection to address technological challenges that consumers face.
In the Philippines, the 1987 Philippine Constitution and Republic Act No. 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines, protect consumers from trade malpractices, and specifies the rights of consumers and the responsibilities of sellers, producers, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. However, these are not the exclusive source of consumer rights.
DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo emphasizes, “This policy advisory promotes a deeper understanding and appreciation of consumer welfare and consumer rights”.
The policy advisory listed the legal bases for each consumer right. DTI-Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) Director Atty. M. Marcus N. Valdez II points out that, “The laws provided in the advisory for the protection and promotion of consumer rights are not exclusive as other laws, rules, regulations, and issuances may also be sources of consumer rights. As far as practicable, the Basic Consumer Rights should be referred to or invoked in all matters related to consumer protection, including but not limited to settlements, decisions, resolutions in mediation or adjudication of consumer complaints.”
A copy of the advisory can be downloaded from the DTI website.
For consumer-related concerns and queries, send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph or call the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline.