Saturday, June 30, 2012

Different Tag Price vs. Bar Code Price

Last Sunday, I bought products from two stores that has different bar code prices against their respective tag/shelf prices. On the two cases below, I cannot allow myself to be cheated or taken advantage by a merchant, so I exercised my rights as a consumer by contesting their higher bar code prices. Why is it that if there is a discrepancy or system error, it usually works to the merchant's favor?

It started that morning in Handyman's Store at Waltermart Carmona, as I looked for a waterproofing compound for our roof, which is undergoing repair. The 4-liter waterproofing product I chose has a tag price of Php 1,645 per pail, but their bar code scan displayed a Php 1,730 price on the checkout counter. The cashier told me that the price had increased, and asked me to pay Php 1,730. 
I responded that according to the Price Tag law, consumer products shall be sold at their tag price or lower, not higher than the tag price. The cashier asked her supervisor for assistance, who also gave me the same alibi. I told her that as a supervisor, she should know the provisions of the Price Tag law, and that I should pay the tag price, not the higher price on their Point-Of-Sale (POS) machine. 
Still, the supervisor was firm on her stand for me to pay the higher price. Since I need the product badly, I replied that I would pay the Php 1,730 higher price, but she must give me her name as I would report the matter to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). That's when the supervisor's defense buckled down, and ordered the cashier to override the POS machine, to charge me Php 1,645 as indicated on the price tag.

Tsk tsk...thumbs down for Handyman in handling this matter.

That evening in Save More Supermarket at Central Mall Binan, a similar case happened, but this time with a dozen of iced tea concentrate in liter packs. There were actually two different price labels on the same rack where the iced tea concentrate are displayed, with price difference of only Php 0.45/sachet. 

Upon verifying my complaint, the male supervisor on duty removed the incorrect lower price label, then he apologized and gave me my P 5.40 refund without question. Now that is the proper way of handling such matter, turning a customer complaint into customer satisfaction.

The specific clause on the Price Tag law under Article 81, Chapter 4, Title III of the RA 7394, otherwise known as Consumer Act of 1991, reads as follows:

"ARTICLE 81. Price Tag Requirement - It shall be unlawful to offer any consumer product for retail sale to the public without an appropriate price tag, label or marking publicly displayed to indicate the price of each article and said products shall not be sold at a price higher than that stated therein and without discrimination to all buyers."

Consumer rights knowledge and implementation in the Philippines is still on its infancy. We may have the right laws, yet we are still weak on the implementation. Minimum penalty in price tag law violation is too low, starting at Php 200 only. Another factor is the passive, shy, or non-confrontational character of most Pinoys. That is why some greedy shop owners manage to get away with such unethical practices in violating the consumer laws.

To download a copy of the RA 7394 or the Consumer Act, plus related amendments including the non-expiry of paid gift checks, click here.
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  1. thanks for this post, i have no idea about price tag law.

  2. Very informative post, was a victim of price tag-bar code difference, paid the higher price since I don't have any idea about this law. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks. It is a boring subject, yet I hope that many consumers will apply the law and exercise their rights.

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  5. was able to read your comment on pex (palawan thread)...

    nice article, this is very informative and i love the part where you asked for the supervisor's name...walang ka cs cs naman, kelangan pa talagang takutin para lang mag give way...

    anyway, i have a questions noel about palawan trip:

    1. mas mura ba mag hire ng van tulad ng ginawa nyo ng family nyo, kesa kumuha ng tour packages for honda bay, city tour and UR tours?

    2. yung 1,500 (for UR), 1,300 (honda bay) and 600 (city tour) ay per person yung quote nila per person sa mga tours di ba? magkano kaya if naka van lang or nag commute lang?

    thanks in advance =D

  6. Sean, let's compute the total cost for 4 pax in the UG River DIY tour:

    Van rental with 200 tip 3,200
    Permit for 4 Pinoy adults 600
    Parking fee 15
    Terminal fee for 4 pax 12
    Boat fee 700
    Tips to boatmen 100
    Lunch at Sabang for 4 pax 1,000

    TOTAL 5,627

    Divide by 4 pax 1,407 per person

    If the same above rates apply now, we can conclude that we can save money for DIY UR tour if there are at least 4 persons in your group. The vans can accommodate 10 persons, and the motorboat can seat 6 adults plus perhaps 2 kids.

    So you save more money, if you can maximize the capacities of the van and boats. Plus you have more control of your itinerary should you want to try zipline at Ugong Rock, mangrove paddle boat tour, View Deck, and other places along the way.

    If commuting by jeepney, total cost is less than P 900 per person, if there are at least 5 tourists sharing the cost of motorboat, and even if a buffet lunch meal is Php 250. Jeepney fares will cost less than Php 300 roundtrip from city proper, via San Jose market terminal. Mas mahaba lang ang biyahe, pero enjoy naman kung cowboy kayo or in tight budget.

    In fact, pwede pa rin ma-avoid ang motorboat fee, if you can hike for 3+ hours (round trip) to UG River via the monkey trail. For mountaineers and trail runners, this is no problem, hehe.