You’ve probably had to deal with the issue of paying for something with a larger bill only to be asked for a smaller one instead. In other cases, you’ve probably gotten candy as change because the store didn’t have any coins or smaller bills.
To quote the campaign slogan used by President Duterte, "Change is coming." The Exact Change Bill became an official law at the end of July after Malacañang didn’t act on it after a 30-day period.
So what is the Exact Change Act? How will it affect consumers?
What is it?
Republic Act 10909, also known as the The Exact Change Act, aims to protect consumers from losing money to sellers or businesses that do not give the exact change to their customers.
After the bill was ratified by the Congress in June, it was sent to Malacañang for President Aquino's signature. The period of 30 days to sign it has lapsed, and the bill passed into law shortly after.
According to the law, it now becomes unlawful for any business establishment – regardless of size – to give insufficient change or no change at all to consumers who have purchased or received products or services of any amount.
It also means that businesses can no longer give out other forms of change, such as candies. It also requires signs on every counter that state “Demand your exact change.”
While the bill proposes that price tags in establishments show the exact retail of any item, it also asks retailers to break down all applicable taxes on the item in question.
The law applies to any business or service provider which means that public transport systems are also covered by the new law. Failure to comply can result in the following penalties:
- Php 500 - first offenders
- Php 15,000 - second offense
- Php 25,000 and revocation of license - third offense
In addition to the fines, the law states that the total amount of change the establishment failed or refused to give is to be paid to the government unless it can be determined with reasonable certainty that the change is due and payable to a particular person or group.
How does it affect you?
Other than the fact that you can ask for the exact change from any establishment, it also means that you can take a business or service to court should they be unable to provide the exact amount of change detailed for your purchase.
In this case, the law also outlines how one might file a complaint:
Anyone who wishes to file a complaint may do so within ten working days of the violation – all complaints will be filed at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Once filed, the DTI will investigate and complete its findings in no less than ten working days with the establishment being served due notice of the investigation.
The findings and final decision regarding the matter shall be issued in no later than 30 days from receipt of the complaint.
The (DTI) is working on disseminating the information regarding the law, as it is also stipulated that the Department will have 120 days total to ensure that people are made wholly aware of the information about the law.
At this point, it should be easier for people to get access to exact change whenever they pay for purchases or services. Even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has stated that to avoid shortchanging patrons.
They can be approached to request lower denominations (like the 5 and 10 centavo coins) often the cause for people being shortchanged.
The next time you spend on anything, make sure to ask for the exact change. After all, it’s the law now.