(in Electronic Documents/Transactions)
Although the Philippines has no law particularly providing for consumer rights to consumers who use electronic platforms (for their transactions), Section 33 (c) of Republic Act (RA) No. 8792, or the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 (the “E-Commerce Act”), provides that “[v]iolations of the Consumer Act or Republic Act No. 7394 and other relevant or pertinent laws through transactions covered by or using electronic data messages or electronic documents, shall be penalized with the same penalties as provided in those laws.”
This means that any consumer who transacts electronically can sue under Republic Act No. 7394, or the Consumer Act of the Philippines (the “Consumer Act”), if his/her consumer rights have been violated. It has to be emphasized, however, that the E-Commerce Act did not diminish nor expand the list of violations under the Consumer Act. It merely included electronic documents and/or contracts as one of the mediums for when the Consumer Act finds application.
The applicability of the E-Commerce Act to electronic (consumer) transactions is further bolstered by the issuance of Joint Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2008 (issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Health and Department of Agriculture), which prescribes “the Rules and Regulations for consumer protection in a transaction covered by the Consumer Act of the Philippines through electronic means under the E-Commerce Act.
Furthermore, and in accordance with Chapter 2, Section 7 of the E-Commerce Act, “[e]lectronic documents shall have the legal effect, validity or enforceability as any other document or legal writing.” This means that the electronic documents/contracts that are generated through the use of PayPanda’s payment platform are valid sources of legal obligation/s between the parties.