• Know your Consumer Rights!

    Here’s how to assert your buyer’s rights when things go wrong.
  • asian shoppersShopping for clothes and gadgets, dining out with your family, and going to a salon to get a new look are fun - but not if you encounter these sticky situations. Here’s how to deal.

    While shopping in a store, I turn to a salesperson for help, but she brushes me off brusquely. How do I file a complaint?

    “You can talk to the manager or the customer service department,” suggests Angel Pelayo-Ty, assistant secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry–National Capital Region (DTI-NCR). Keep in mind this order: the salesperson’s direct supervisor, and then the manager. Your last resort is to write a letter of complaint to the store and address it to the human resources department. “Doing so will be much appreciated because they form part of the improvement [of services],” Pelayo-Ty says.

    When complaining, keep your cool. Pelayo-Ty’s tip: “Be calm, and state matter-of-factly what happened.” Losing your temper will only worsen the problem. “The  reason why some people become very aggressive is because mainit ‘yung ulo ng tao. The clerk feels naaapi, while the shopper thinks, ‘It’s my right. Customer is king,’” she explains. Get what you deserve by being calm and reasonable.

    When Ning Chavez*, mom of three, found herself in a similar situation, she decided to spread some good vibes instead. She says, “Instead of being masungit to the saleslady in return, I said to her, ‘Smile. Ang ganda mo pa naman.’ And then I smiled at her. She smiled back at me before I left.”

    My son received a new shirt as a gift from his tita, but it doesn't fit him. Could I have it exchanged even without the official receipt?

    That depends on the return policy of the store where the shirt was bought, says Pelayo-Ty. According to the Consumer Act, you can have an item exchanged only if it’s damaged or substandard. Since the shirt is alright but just in the wrong size, it’s best to go to the store and talk to the manager about its return policy, which differs from store to store.   

    "Before you pay [for the item], the store personnel should ask you if it’s a gift,” says Pelayo-Ty. If it is, they give you a gift receipt. In this scenario, a gift receipt lessens the burden on the receiver. Pelayo-Ty says, “Some find it embarrassing to ask the giver for the official receipt to have the item exchanged.” There’s a problem, though, if you bought the gift from a bazaar. Even if bazaar concessionaires are required to issue official receipts, it has no permanent structure like a typical brick-and-mortar store, she says. It would thus be difficult for the receiver to have the gift item exchanged.

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