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DTI Guidelines on Online Selling (+ How to Register Your Online Business in DTI)

DTI Guidelines on Online Selling (+ How to Register Your Online Business in DTI)

Today, more and more people are turning to online selling as a means of earning extra income – and some are even making it their full-time business. 

One of its biggest advantages is that you get to work at the comforts of your own home. And, who doesn’t want to become their own boss and control their own schedule? 

However, the most pressing question for aspiring online sellers is ‘Do I need to register my business?’ 

The short answer? Yes. 

Whether you’re offering online services as a freelancer or selling products in your e-commerce store, you need to acquire certain permits and complete certain registrations. 

In this article, we’ll talk about DTI guidelines on online selling, and how you can get your business registered. 

How to Register Your Online Business in DTI

Here’s a step-by-step guide to register your online business name in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). 

  1. Prepare your business name. According to DTI, your business name refers to nay name – other than your true name – that you are going to use for your business.

  2. Confirm availability of your chosen business name. After compiling a list of your preferred business names, search them on the DTI’s website to check if it is still available for use.

  3. Fill up the online registration form. If your preferred business name is available, you can proceed and fill up DTI’s online registration form through their Business Name Registration System (BNRS). Take note of the reference code that you will receive as you will use this in all of your BNRS transactions.

  4. Pay the registration fee. After completely filling up the online registration form, follow the instructions, and then pay the necessary registration fee within 7 calendar days from yoru application date. You can pay through Credit/Debit Card, PayMaya, or GCash.

  5. Download your certification. Upon payment confirmation, your business name will be successfully registered. To download your certification, go to Transaction Inquiry, accept the Terms and Conditions, and enter the reference code that you received when you filled out the registration from.

Note: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) clarified that online sellers who operate on an ‘irregular’ basis or those who only sell homemade products as a hobby are not required to register. 

In a statement during the virtual hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said[1], “If one is just selling intermittently or on an irregular basis or selling homemade stuff as a hobby, it is understood they are not yet in business thus they are not required to register.” 

DTI Guidelines on Online Selling

Below is an excerpt of the Joint DTI-DOH-DA Administrative Order No. 01 Series of 2008[2]

SUBJECT: Rules and regulations for consumer protection in a transaction covered by the Consumer Act of the Philippines (R.A. 7394) through electronic means under the E-Commerce Act (R.A. 8792). 

WHEREAS, Republic Act No.7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, declares that it is the policy of the State to protect the interests of the consumer, promote his general welfare and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry to implement measures to achieve, among others, the protection against deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices;

WHEREAS, Republic Act No. 8792, otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act, among others, recognizes the vital role of information and communications technology (ICT) in nation-building aimed at facilitating domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements, agreements, contracts and exchanges and storage of information through the utilization of electronic, optical and similar medium, mode, instrumentality and technology to recognize the authenticity and reliability of electronic data messages or electronic documents related to such activities and to promote the universal use of electronic transactions in the government and by the general public; 

WHEREAS, the Electronic Commerce Act, penalizes acts in violations of the Consumer Act and other relevant or pertinent laws through transactions covered by or using electronic data messages or electronic documents with the same penalties provided for therein.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of the E-Commerce Act in relation to the Consumer Act, the following Order is hereby prescribed for the information, guidance and compliance of all concerned:

Section 1. Scope and Coverage. This order shall apply to all retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers engaged in electronic commerce with consumers. 

These implementing rules and regulations shall be enforced by: 

  1. the Department of Health (DOH) with respect to food, drugs, cosmetics, devices and hazardous substances; 
  2. the Department of Agriculture (DA) with respect to fresh, primary- and secondary processed agricultural and fishery1 products; 
  3. the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) with respect to other consumer products not specified above.

However, the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) shall assume jurisdiction over financial products and services offered by financial institutions under BSP supervision. 

Section 2. Definition of Terms. 

Section 3. Requirements for Adopting Fair and Reasonable Business Practices. Retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers engaged in electronic commerce with consumers shall adopt fair and reasonable business practices.

In this connection, retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturer shall:

  1. ensure compliance with the requirements for consumer product quality and safety standards under Title II, Chapter I of the Consumer Act of the Philippines;

  2. ensure compliance with requirements for safe and good quality of food, drugs, cosmetics and devices under Title II, Chapter II of the Consumer Act of the Philippines;

  3. ensure compliance with requirements for substances other than food, drugs, cosmetics and devices that are hazardous to consumer heath and safety under Title II, Chapter III of the Consumer Act of the Philippines;

  4. not engaged in any deceptive, unfair and unconscionable sales acts and practices under Title III, Chapter I of the Consumer Act of the Philippines;

  5. honor and accept the responsibilities for consumer product and services under warranties or guarantees under Title III, Chapter III of the Consumer Act of the Philippines;

  6. ensure compliance with the requirements for labeling and packaging, including price tag, indicating a fair, accurate and adequate word, statement or information about a consumer product labeling and fair packaging under Title III, Chapter IV of the Consumer Act of the Philippines;

  7. be liable for defective products and service under Title III, Chapter V of the Consumer Act of the Philippines;

  8. ensure compliance with other requirements of the provisions of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) as fair and reasonable business practices.

Section 4. Requirements for Adopting Fair Marketing and Advertising Practices. Retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers engaged in electronic commerce with consumers shall refrain from engaging in any false, deceptive and misleading advertisement prohibited under the provisions of Title III, Chapter VI of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and its IRR, and shall comply with the advertising and promotion requirements therein, and other advertising and promotion guidelines issued by the respective departments in compliance with other relevant laws.

Section 5. Requirements for On-line Disclosure of Information. 1.) Information About the Retailers, Sellers, Distributors, Suppliers or Manufacturers. Retailers, sellers, distributors, supplies or manufacturers engaged in electronic commerce shall provide accurate, clear and easily accessible information to identify themselves, which includes but not limited to the following:

    1.  Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and/or Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) registration;

    2.  name of the owner/proprietor of a retail establishment in case of a single proprietorship and names of directors and other officers in case of a corporation;

    3. principal geographical address of the retailer, seller, distributor, supplier or manufacturer, and when applicable, of offices or agents in the Philippines;

    4.  website, e-mail address or other electronic means of contact, telephone and fax numbers, of the retailer, and when applicable, of its offices or agents in the Philippines;

    5.  any relevant local or foreign government registration/license numbers such as but not limited to the local government unit’s permit to operate, Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN), when applicable;

    6.  contact details about any business association or organization membership, when applicable. 
    7.  representative agent(s) in the Philippines for purposes of summons.

2.) Information About the Products or Services. Retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers engaged in electronic commerce with consumers shall provide: 

2.1) fair, accurate, clear and easily accessible information describing the products or services offered for sale such as the nature, quality and quantity thereof;

2.2) fair, accurate, clear and easily accessible information sufficient to enable consumers to make an informed decision whether or not to enter into the transaction; and

2.3) such information that allows consumers to maintain an adequate record of the information about the products and services offered for sale.

3.) Information About Consumer Transaction

3.1) Retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers engaged in electronic commerce with consumers shall provide sufficient, clear, accurate, easily accessible information about the terms, conditions and costs of the consumer transaction to enable consumers to make an informed decision.

3.2) The manner of providing this information shall give consumers an adequate opportunity to review the terms, conditions and costs before entering into the consumer transaction and allow the consumers to retain a copy of the information.

3.3) Retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers shall make available to consumers a clear and complete text of the relevant terms and conditions of the consumer transaction. The consumers should be able to access and retain a record of the information by printing or electronic record.

3.4) The information shall include the price tag of the product or service and the applicable currency. However, applicable costs not included in the price tag such as delivery, postage, handling, insurance, shipping charges, taxes, and specific reference to any other charges, customs fees and other fees that may be imposed on or collected from consumers shall be so stated in the information. The information shall include notice of any optional ongoing costs, fees and charges and methods of notification for changes to those costs, fees and charges.

Section 6. Conclusion of Consumer Transaction. 1.) Where appropriate, before concluding the purchase, retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers or manufacturers shall provide, by procedures, consumers the opportunity to: 

1.1) review and accept or reject the terms and conditions of the contract;

1.2) identify precisely the product or service consumers wish to purchase or avail;

1.3) identify and correct any errors or modify the order; and Joint DTI-DOH-DA Department Administrative Order No01, Series of 2008 Rules and regulations for consumer protection in a transaction covered by the Consumer Act of the Philippines (R.A. 7394) through electronic means under the E-Commerce Act (R.A. 8792) Page 20 of 23

1.4) retain a record of any purchase/order, transaction confirmation, acceptance of any offer they make. 

2.) Retailers should promptly acknowledge receipt of any order, confirmation or acceptance received.

Section 7. Original Documents.

Section 8. Compliance of Retailers Engaged in Electronic Commerce with the Data Protection Guidelines. Any retailer engaged in the business of electronic commerce with consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in Section 4 on general principles for the protection of personal data, Section 5 on voluntary accreditation, Section 6 on lawful access to personal data in an information and communication system, Section 7 on obligation of confidentiality and Section 8 on security of data provided for under the provisions of the DTI Department Administrative Order No. 8, Series of 2006 or “Prescribing Guidelines for the Protection of Personal Data in Information and Communications System in the Private Sector”.

Section 9. Addressing Consumer Complaints. 

  1. Setting Up of Internal Complaint-Handling Mechanism. Retailers, sellers, distributors, suppliers, or manufacturers shall set up and make operational an internal complaint-handling mechanism for consumer complaints within a maximum period of three (3) months but the mechanism should not prejudice the rights of the consumers to seek legal redress.

  2. Procedure for filing a complaint with concerned implementing agencies

(2.1) Any person aggrieved by any transaction arising from the purchase of goods and services from a business establishment for violation(s) of the Consumer Act transacted by using electronic data messages or electronic documents as defined in Electronic Commerce Act may file such complaint before the concerned implementing agencies by furnishing a copy of the specific electronic data messages or electronic document related to the transaction. 

(2.2) Upon receipt of the formal written complaint, either through mail, personal delivery or electronic data messages/electronic documents, the concerned implementing agencies may commence an investigation based on the said electronic data messages or electronic documents subject to the existing Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Consumer Act as well as the Electronic Commerce Act.

You can read the full Joint DTI-DOH-DA Administrative Order No. 01 Series of 2008 here. 


Resources:
  1. https://www.bworldonline.com/online-sellers-operating-on-irregular-basis-not-required-to-register-dti/
  2. https://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/ph/ph157en.pdf
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