Bill seeks to penalize establishments that shortchange their customers

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Agnes shops for groceries weekly. She doesn’t own a credit card so she always pays in cash. As is usually the case, her grocery bill totals do not always round off to the nearest peso or twenty five centavos.

Most of the time, too, her “suking” supermarket would not have coins in denominations smaller than 25 centavos to come up with the exact change, that is why she would usually get asked by the cashier to donate the deficit to an “environmental fund” or some other worthy cause. Agnes would not think twice and would usually say yes.

“Barya-barya na lang naman yun, hayaan mo na,” Agnes said.

Such a scenario, however, would no longer be allowed, if and when a bill pending at the House of Representatives is finally signed into law.

Under House Bill No. 4730 or the “Exact Change Act,” a consolidated bill that substitutes a similar bill authored by Las Pinas Representative Mark Villar, supermarkets will be held liable for not giving the exact change, a practice that has been taken for granted by consumers like Agnes.


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“This is usually because the change involves a matter of five, ten or twenty centavos, or small bills, which when added up at the end of the day, amount to thousands of pesos,” Villar said in a statement released by the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was already passed by the House on third and final reading, aims to support and strengthen the “Consumer Act of the Philippines,” which was enacted to protect the interests and rights of consumers.

“These laws recognize that consumers play a key role in the Philippine economy. Hence, they seek to protect the right of consumers and put a stop to abusive practices of business establishments in the country,” Villar added.

Aside from prohibiting establishments from perpetuating the practice of giving insufficient change to their customers, the bill forbids businesses to give change in any form other than the Philippine currency.

Stores are also directed to put price tags, and when appropriate, to indicate the exact price, including applicable taxes, of a product or service.

Penalties for violators come in fines ranging from P500 to P25,000 or three percent to a maximum of 10 percent of the gross sales of the business establishment.

Suspension for three months or revocation of the business license will be imposed in succeeding offenses.

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