“ATTY., ANO PO ANG KASO PWEDE SA ISANG ONLINE SELLER NA NAGBENTA NA GOLD BRACELET NA PEKE PALA?”
ANG “CAVEAT EMPTOR” O “BUYER BEWARE” AY ISANG BATAS SA BENTAHAN KUNG SAAN NILALAGAY ANG RESPONSIBILIDAD SA TAONG BIBILI UPANG SIGUROHIN NA TAMA ANG KANYANG PRODUKTO NA BINIBILI AT SIYA AY MAY RESPONSIBILIDAD NA I-TEST AT I-INSPECT ITO. NGUNIT SA ONLINE SELLING TRANSACTION KUNG SAAN WALANG TESTING AT INSPECTION NG PRODUKTO, ANG ONLINE BUYER AY MAY KARAPATAN NA DUMEPENDE SA MGA DESCRIPTION NA NAKALAGAY SA ONLINE SHOP AT ANG ONLINE SELLER AY MAY RESPONSIBILDAD NA ILAGAY LAMANG KUNG ANO ANG TOTOO DITO. KUNG HINDI TOTOO ANG NILAGAY NA DESCRIPTION NG PRODUKTO AT MAY KASAMANG PANLOLOKO, ITO AY ISANG KRIMEN NA ESTAFA UNDER ARTICLE 315 NG REVISED PENAL CODE NA MAY PARUSANG KULONG.
May na-experience na ba kayo na may gusto kayong bilhin na produkto sa isang online seller? Ano ba ang mga dapat gawin para maprotektahan ang isang online buyer? Ganito ang problem ng isang reader ng E-Lawyers Online:
“Atty., may nakita po ako sa FB na online seller na nagbebenta ng gold bracelet na 18karat po. Binili ko po at nagdeposit sa banko niya at ng ipadala na ito ay hindi po pala gold. Ano po ang kaso pwede ko isampa?”
Ang “caveat emptor” o “buyer beware” ay isang batas sa bentahan kung saan nilalagay ang responsibilidad sa taong bibili upang sigurohin na tama ang kanyang produkto na binibili at siya ay may responsibilidad na i-test at i-inspect ito. Kung after matesting at ma-inspect ang produkto at binili pa rin ito, ang seller ay wala nang pananagutan sa buyer kung ano man ang makitang depekto dito pagkatapos ng bentahan. Ngunit kung ang transaction ay isang “online selling transaction”, ang caveat emptor principle ay hindi applicable. Sabi sa isang Supreme Court case na ang buyer na walang pagkakataon na tingnan ang produkto o i-test o i-inspect, pwede siyang mag rely sa representation o description ng produkto na binigay ng seller. Kung mali ang description at may panloloko dito, pwedeng habulin ng buyer ang seller o kaya ay kasuhan ng estafa:
“The rule of caveat emptor, like the rule of sweet charity, has often been invoked to cover a multitude of sins; but we think its protecting mantle has never been stretched to this extent. It can only be applied where it is shown or conceded that the parties to the contract stand on equal footing and have equal knowledge or equal means of knowledge and there is no relation of trust or confidence between them. But, where one party undertakes to sell to another property situated at a distance and of which he has or claims to have personal knowledge and of which the buyer knows nothing except as he is informed by the seller, the buyer may rightfully rely on the truth of the sellers representations as to its kind, quality, and value made in the course of negotiation for the purpose of inducing the purchase. If, in such case, the representations prove to be false, neither law nor equity will permit the seller to escape responsibility by the plea that the buyer ought not to have believed him or ought to have applied to other sources to ascertain the facts.” [Guinhawa vs. People, G.R. No. 162822, August 25, 2005]
Isa sa mga klase ng “estafa” ay ang pagbebenta ng produkto gamit ang panloloko o representasyon na may property, business o transaksyon na hindi naman totoo. Ito ay ayon sa Article 351 Par. 2 (a) ng Revised Penal Code:
ART. 315. Swindling (estafa). – Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
x x x x x x x x x
2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:
(a) By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.
x x x x x x x x x.
Ayon sa Korte Suprema, the elements of estafa by false pretense as defined in Article 315, par. 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code are: The elements of estafa by means of deceit are the following, viz.: (a) that there must be a false pretense or fraudulent representation as to his power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions; (b) that such false pretense or fraudulent representation was made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; (c) that the offended party relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means and was induced to part with his money or property; and (d) that, as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.[R.R. Paredes v. Calilung, G.R. No. 156055, March 5, 2007, 517 SCRA 369; Cosme, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 149753, November 27, 2006, 508 SCRA 190; Jan-Dec Construction Corporation v. CA, G.R. No. 146818, February 6, 2006, 481 SCRA 556.]
Sa kasong estafa, dapat patunayan ng pinagkautangan na hindi totoo ang representasyon ng nagbenta at ang panloloko ay ginawa bago o habang binigay niya ang pera sa nagbenta at siya ay umaasa sa nasabing representasyon kaya niya binigay ang pera sa online seller.
Pero ang online seller ay kailangan na positively identified bago kasuhan. Kung kaya ay bago bumili ay alamin na mabuti ang identity ng seller. Ayon sa Section 5 of Joint Administrative Order No. 01 retailers, sellers, and suppliers engaged in online business are required to provide the following:
— Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and/or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration;
— Name of the owner/proprietor of a retail establishment in case of a single proprietorship and names of directors and other officers in case of a corporation;
— Principal geographical address of the retailer, seller, distributor, supplier or manufacturer, and when applicable, of offices or agents in the Philippines; and
— Website, e-mail address or other electronic means of contact, telephone and fax numbers of the retailer, and when applicable, of its offices or agents in the Philippines, among others.
Kung merong katanungan o gustong magkonsulta ukol sa online selling o Estafa, visit www.e-lawyersonline.com.
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