Price Tag Laws in the Philippines
The Consumer Act of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 7394) defines a price tag as "any device, written, printed, affixed or attached to a consumer product or displayed in a consumer repair or service establishment for the purpose of indicating the retail price per unit or service.
" Strict laws apply to the use of price tags; penalties, which range from a fine to imprisonment and revocation of business permits, are imposed for failing to comply with them.
Price Tag Requirements
Every retail item offered for sale must have a price tag, label or other clear, unaltered and unambiguous sign on or close to it, and must state the price of the item per unit (each, litre, pair, dozen, etc.). If the item is subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) the indicated price must include it. No service charge can be included on the price tag. Sample or dummy items must also carry a price tag. Price tags on lumber must show the official name of the wood. Prima facie evidence of profiteering can include the selling of a necessity or prime commodity with no price tag.
The displayed price must be in pesos and centavos. The law states that the item's price must be "in Philippine currency, except when a law or regulation allows consumer products to be sold in foreign currency such as in the case of duty-free shops." Banned practices include showing separate price tags for cash and credit card sales.
The price tag must display the maximum selling price. Selling the item at a price higher than that displayed is unlawful. For a while, following introduction of the price tag law, there were problems with some retailers simply increasing their prices to cover the charges levied on them by credit card processing agencies. Although this met the letter of the law, because the highest price payable was shown, it meant it was possible to negotiate a lower price by paying in cash. Legislators hoped to curb haggling with the act, as they considered it "a waste of time and energy of both buyer and seller." In 2006, the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry banned credit card surcharging.
Penalties for noncompliance are significant. A first offence results in a fine of not less than 200 pesos but no more than 5,000, or by "imprisonment of not less than one (1) month but not more than six (6) months or both, at the discretion of the court." A second violation results in the revocation of business permit and license.