By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Department of Trade and Industry said it will decide this week whether to impose suggested retail price (SRP) on gadgets or not, hinting that if ever a price cap is imposed it may be applicable only on the basic features of the gadget.
DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the consumer welfare group of Undersecretary Ruth Castelo is studying the proposal and is expected to come up with the recommendations this week.
There has been some calls for SRP on gadgets because of the need to buy these learning tools as students have to adapt the online learning when school opens in October.
At first, he said, the DTI was reluctant on the call for SRP on electronic gadgets for educational purposes as schools have to implement online learning amid the pandemic.
The reluctance was largely because there are different features of these learning tools in terms of features, specifications, and capacity.
“So, the SRP is not one size fits all,” he said.
But, Lopez said, that if ever there is really a need then the most DTI can do is to apply the SRP on basic features only of the gadget like how many gig and ram. This way, the DTI could exercise some controls.
In addition, Lopez cited the many suppliers and players in the market that make prices of gadgets competitive and at a wider price range.
Those with better specs and power would really command higher price, he said, but it the buyer is only after for connectivity for school purposes then there are many gadgets to choose at lower prices.
Consumer advocate Victorio Mario Dimagiba, president of Laban Konsyumer Inc., said the SRP on gadgets can be done although the monitoring could be a big challenge.
Dimagiba, a former DTI undersecretary for consumer welfare and protection group, said DTI could implement the same strategy they did on portable generators.
“We scanned the market as well as suppliers and big stores, and we published a price guide by brand size and capacity,” he shared.
He said there is still time to implement this price guide or SRP on gadgets since school opening is postponed to October 5 this year.
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