Know your rights: What to do if establishments undercut your PWD, senior citizen discounts

February 2, 2024 - 4:22 PM
The illustration shows a cake, PWD and senior citizen signage (Clker Free Vectors via Pixabay; MabelAmber via Pixabay; NearnessProject/Instagram; Art by Interaksyon/James Patrick Cruz)

A coffee chain recently made headlines for its viral signage limiting senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) discount to “one food item and one beverage” per visit.

Starbucks Philippines was summoned in a House of Representatives inquiry following this issue.

During the hearing, House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro did not hold back in noting “ang mahal mahal nga talaga ng kape niyo eh ‘no? Tapos ‘yung ating senior citizens ayaw niyo pang bigyan ng discount.”

This development brought to light not only the greedy tendencies of corporations but also a much wider problem in availing rightful discounts among eligible sectors.

In the past two years, the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) logged around 5,700 complaints on denied discounts.

The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), on the other hand, received 154 complaints and queries.

Given this issue, it is increasingly important for people to know their rights as well as what to do when denied of it.

Under the Republic Act 9994 or Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, those ages 60 and above or seniors are entitled to at least a 20% discount on goods and services like food, medicine, transportation, and accommodation.

PWDs are entitled to the same privileges under the R.A. No. 10754 orAct Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability.

Trade and Industry Secretary Amanda Nograles told PhilSTAR L!fe that these provisions are not limited to one food item and one drink, as previously imposed by Starbucks.

She clarified that establishments do not have the discretion to limit the applied discount as long as the senior citizen or PWD will consume the items.

In the event that establishments undercut your 20% discount on goods and services for whatever reason, you may file a complaint to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau accepts accomplished complaint forms through email at [email protected] or in person, addressed to the director of the DTI Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB). Its address is UPRC Building 315 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

Complainants within Metro Manila may directly fill out the online complaints form.

The bureau also caters to a variety of consumer complaints and has a complete directory on other concerns among other sectors and regional offices.

Similarly, NCDA Regional Programs Coordinator Walter Alava in an interview encouraged customers to assert their right and document the incident to support formal complaints.

PWDs may reach out to NCDA through email at [email protected], its landline (632) 8932-6422, or on Facebook.

Senior citizens may contact NCSC through email at [email protected], via landline (063)(02) 82498310 Local 8482, or on Facebook.

RELATED: Explainer: How senior citizen, PWD discounts work