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Prepaid loads should not expire – DTI

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez finds no logical reason why pre-paid telephone and Internet cards should be exempted from the law prohibiting the setting of expiration dates on goods and services paid for in advance by consumers.

Interviewed by the media at the sidelines of a congressional budget hearing, Lopez said he is not aware that telecommunications firms still impose expiry dates on prepaid telephone and Internet loads.

“These services have already been paid for by the consumer. I do not see any reason why the buyer will be denied the use of the services or goods in the future,” Lopez said.

Nevertheless, Lopez vowed to look into the complaints by assigning Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya on the controversy.

During the budget hearing conducted by the House Committee on Appropriations, Lopez assured lawmakers that there will be no let up in the campaign against establishments that shortchange consumers by imposing unlawful expiry periods for warranties on sales and effectivity of pre-paid gift certificates.

The Department of Trade and Industry official aired the assurance in response to queries made by Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette “BH” Herrera-Dy.

Earlier, Herrera-Dy urged President Duterte to recall a directive issued by the National Telecommunications Commission setting validity period for telecommunications prepaid load credits, saying that the NTC memorandum circular is “downright anti-poor” and grossly unfair to all prepaid telephone subscribers. (Ben R. Rosario)