DTI warns retailers of over-pricing

The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned retailers, distributors and manufacturers against selling basic commodities higher than the suggested retail prices (SRP).

Any retailer found selling above the SRP would be asked to explain the price hike and show the cost of acquisition.

If it turns out that the manufacturer or distributor was the one selling goods higher than the SRP, then DTI will issue summons to these manufacturers or distributors to explain the increase in price.

The DTI said would imposed a P1 million fine to violators under the Price Act subject to the circumstances provided after due notice and hearing.

Criminal liability for illegal price manipulation may result to imprisonment of not more than 15 years and a maximum fine of P2 millionl.

The DTI has published the updated suggested retail prices (SRPs) of basic necessities and prime commodities in major newspapers to guide consumers in their purchases at the same time to alert retailers nationwide to sell within the SRPs.

Based on the recent National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) meeting, other government offices and industries cited the world price hikes on products and services as the main reason of price increases of goods in the country.

Several manufacturers of milk products, canned goods, noodles, and condiments, have notified the DTI a month ago on the price adjustments of their products, citing the increase in prices of raw materials and production costs as the major reason for the adjustments.

DTI Sec. Gregory Domingo is looking into the adjusted SRPs of these select basic necessities and prime commodities and the results of the comparative price analysis showed that the planned price adjustments were reasonable.

“We have published the updated price guide for the information and guidance of producers, manufacturers, traders, dealers, sellers, retailers, and consumers.”

The SRPs are provided by manufacturers to set retail prices of products so that consumers will know whether the goods are over-priced or above the acceptable profit margin.

DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Welfare Zenaida Maglaya said the  DTI is closely coordinating with the industry sector to ensure that there is proper notification and consultation prior to any adjustments in SRPs.

Maglaya stressed that the SRPs would ensure that businesses are not denied of their right to fair return of investments, at the same time to prevent unreasonable price increases on basic goods.