BSP Pushes Bill That Protects Consumers From Unlawful Debt Collections And Banking Mishaps
The bill that will protect Filipinos from unfair collection practices by credit card firms and other banking mishaps is now pending in Congress. The proposed bill is called the Financial Consumer Protection Act, and it aims to prevent unlawful debt collections like harassment and threats, and it also offers better protection against online fraud.
According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno, this legislative initiative has far-reaching benefits to consumers especially amid the rise in digital transactions. Additionally, the proposed reforms in the financial sector will enhance the authority of regulators and ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to safeguard the interest of financial consumers.
In the proposed consumer protection law, financial regulators can issue a cease and desist order without a prior hearing when it comes to unfair collection practices such as threats or harassment against financial consumers.
Meanwhile, in terms of disputes and claims, the law will no longer require the claims to pass through the court if it involves a return of money from a financial service provider. This will make the process more efficient and faster in cases when consumers file for compensation and claims of their transactions.
On the other hand, for undispensed ATM withdrawals, the depository bank and bank operating the ATM will be held liable to cardholders. If neither of the institutions is willing to settle the customer’s claim, the customer can through the adjudication process and file a claim directly with the BSP.
Lastly, financial service providers responsible for credit card fraud will be subjected to sanctions. These include fines, suspension, or penalties.
Diokno stressed that consumer welfare is a continuing agenda of the BSP and consumer protection is a shared responsibility among regulators, consumers, and other stakeholders.