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Weslie Gatchalian’s proposed E-Commerce bureau gets House panel’s nod

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The House Committee on Trade and Industry has approved Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian’s bill creating the Electronic Commerce Bureau to protect online consumers and merchants.

The bill seeks to regulate all business-to-business and business-to-consumer commercial transactions conducted over the internet, including those related to internet retail, online travel, online media, ride hailing services, and digital financial services.

However, it will not cover consumer-to-consumer transactions, or those considered petty, one-off, or occasional low value transactions.

The proposed law also makes online platforms, including Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora, solidarily liable with their own merchants if these platforms fail to exercise ordinary diligence; know or should have known that items in their platform do not comply with law, and they fail to take necessary measures; fail to publish the details of their merchants as required under the bill; or if they permit an online merchant, not duly registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies, to offer its goods and services for sale through their platform.

Gatchalian’s bill also makes it illegal to cancel orders for food and/or grocery items made via a ride hailing service when the said items have already been paid by or is already in the possession of the ride hailing service partner or in transit to the consumer. It will also be illegal to “unreasonably shame, demean, embarrass, or humiliate ride hailing service partners.”

A consumer, however, may cancel an order if the delivery of ordered food or grocery items was or will be delayed for at least an hour from the expected time of arrival due to the fault or negligence of the ride hailing service partner.