Have you ever bought something from a store and was given change in the form of a candy instead of your 25-cent monetary due? How about missing 48 cents because the cashier did not have loose coins available in the register?
In the Philippines, it is nothing new for business establishments, big or small, to disregard giving their customers the exact change especially if we are talking about an amount 10-cent or less.
As customers, we don’t really mind, thinking that the amount is too small to concern ourselves with. We have always found it acceptable and even familiar for some small scale stores like the local “sari-sari” in your neighborhood to give candies in lieu of money.
However, during the second half of the year, a bill was endorsed by the congress and later on by the senate, which seeks to change the bad shortchanging habits of Filipino businessmen.
Late in July, the bill finally made it to the list of laws that will protect customers/ consumers from such practices.
NO Shortchange under the Republic Act 10909
Here are the things that you should know about RA 10909:
- The new law is officially known as the ‘No Shortchanging Act’.
- The bill was endorsed by congress and the senate in early June and on July 21, lapsed into law after Malacañang failed to act on it within 30 days after receipt.
- The law states that it is now a legal responsibility for business establishments to provide sufficient change to consumers.
- Lacking loose bills or coins should not exempt businesses from giving the exact, cent-per-cent amount of change.
- It also encourages establishments to provide excess change to their customers to ensure that the change is not less than the amount due. This condition should be applied if necessary.
- Giving candies in exchange to loose change as well as other alternatives are now prohibited.
- It is not allowed for the staff or even the manager to ask the customers if they can be spared from giving change no matter how small the amount is.
- Penalties for violators include:
- A fine of P500 for the first offense
- For the second offense, 3-month suspension of the business’ license to operate and a P15,000 fine.
- A third offense will cause revocation of the establishment’s license to operate and an additional fine of P25,000.
- Establishments are also expected to post a sign that encourages customers to demand for exact change.
Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino on Sunday announced the passage of the new law, emphasizing that under RA 10909, the government will help promote “a culture of decency, integrity, and professionalism among Filipino businesses”.
“Naniniwala tayo na madadala at mapakikinabangan ng mga negosyanteng Pilipino ang kasanayang ito kapag lumaki at lumago ang kanilang negosyo,” (We believe that such practice will benefit Filipino businessmen in the future, especially as their businesses grow.)
The new law will not only cover big establishments, it will also affect small scale businesses like sari-sari stores common in every neighborhood. The question is, will be public heed this law and will customers find time to report violators?