Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Consumers are welcoming the passage of a new law that will require establishments to ensure they have enough money to give the exact amount of change. It is a story Filipinos know very well. Customers are often asked if they have smaller bills, especially in the morning when cash counters are still empty.
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Consumers are welcoming the passage of a new law that will require establishments to ensure they have enough money to give the exact amount of change.
It is a story Filipinos know very well. Customers are often asked if they have smaller bills, especially in the morning when cash counters are still empty.
For Donita Buccat, it is a constant struggle to buy breakfast at her office building because the store doesn’t have loose coins and small bills. Often, she loses time as the cashier has to approach other stores to break bills.
“Kailangan may handa silang panukli sa customers nila, para hindi sila nakakaabala kapag may pupuntahan sila at nagmamadali sila. Kaysa aalis sila, maiiwan yung store, maiiwan ka dun, maghahanap sila ng panukli,” Buccat said.
[Translation: “They need to have money for change because it is such an inconvenience for customers who are made to wait while they leave the store and look for change.”]
Worse, when businesses can’t find the money, customers end up foregoing their change or simply walking away.
Buccat said, “Minsan nagpa-load ako, tapos kahit P100 lang yung binigay ko para saP15 na load, wala silang panukli. Hindi na ko naka-load.”
[Translation: “I had to load credit on to my mobile phone. They couldn’t give me change even for a P100 bill when I bought P15 in credit. I ended up not being able to reload.”]
Republic Act No. 10909 or the No Shortchanging Act, which lapsed into law last month, will require businesses to set aside money so they can provide their customers with sufficient change.
It will ban practices like withholding change or offering small items — often candy or cigarettes — to make up for it.
Amando Macarilay welcomed the passage of the law, saying the practice of not having change ready promotes unfairness. Customers are willing to pay money but they end up getting shortchanged or unable to buy the products they need.
“Sa ibang bansa ganon eh. As a matter of fact, sa ibang bansa, ayaw pa nila yung may tip, ayaw nilang kinukuha yung sukli… Tapos kapag pinipilit mo, ‘No, you are teaching us to be corrupt,‘ yun pa ang sabi,” Macarilay said.
[Translation: “That’s what they do in other countries. As a matter of fact, in other countries, they don’t even want to take your change as a tip. When you offer it to them, they even say, ‘No, you are teaching us to be corrupt.'”]
Diana Rose Bentulan, a cashier in a bakery, said businesses can prepare well in advance so they don’t come up short with money. In the store she works in, loose coins and small bills are set aside every end of day, so they can be used for change the next.
“Bago po magbukas ng tindahan, ihahanda po muna yung pangsukli. Mga tag-piso, lima, sampu, bente, singkwenta, 100, 500. Para may bumili na buo ang pera niya, may panukli agad,” she said.
[Translation: “Even before the store opens, we already prepare our change. One-peso, five-peso, ten-peso coins, and bills in 20s, 50s, 100s and 500s. If customers come with large bills, we have ready change for them.”]
However, the new law also causes concern among some business owners. They fear some situations are out of their control, even when they set aside money for change.
Richelle Escario, who works in an eatery, said some days she encounters numerous customers who only have large bills. On paydays, especially, people tend to pay just with P1,000 bills.
But, the law is firm. Businesses can be fined P500 for their first violation, while repeat violators can be fined as much as P25,000 and have their operating licenses suspended.
Senator Bam Aquino, the law’s proponent, said though that the rules would benefit businesses as they would promote a culture of “decency, integrity, and professionalism.”