Gatchalian: Both e-commerce platforms and sellers are liable for damaged or lost goods

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Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian said on Friday both e-commerce platforms like Lazada, Shopee and Zalora and the sellers of the item should be held accountable for any damaged or lost goods purchased online.

The chair of the House committee on trade and industry issued the statement in the wake of public outcry over a viral video that showed workers of a courier service deliberately mishandling packages.

“The on-going practice is that consumers who buy from online platforms like Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora, are limited to the couriers services selected and offered by these e-commerce platforms,” Gatchalian said.

“In order for the consumers to be able to purchase the items they want, they have no other option but to use the courier services utilized by these online platforms. And sometimes they literally have no choice because only one courier service is offered by the platform,” he stressed.

The lawmaker said complaints of items being damaged or lost is not good for both buyers and sellers.

Earlier this year, Gatchalian filed House Bill 6122, or the Internet Transactions Act, which specifies obligations and liabilities for eCommerce platforms and online merchants, including the delivery of goods to consumers in the condition as required by the sales contract.

The proposed law also expressly states that any agreement between buyer and seller is “valid only if, at the time of the conclusion of the contract, the consumer has knowledge of the specific condition of the goods and the consumer has expressly accepted this specific condition when concluding the contract.”

The bill also establishes a code of conduct for online businesses, including allowing for the tracking of deliveries by online merchants and provide complete records of the goods purchased and have them delivered within the promised time and described condition.