Shopping around for used cars has never been easier. Just head on to Facebook Marketplace or any online selling platforms and you can get a wide selection of second-hand autos at your fingertips. However, that experience is ruined for some when they see these words: PM (private message) for price.

Granted, it's not a total deal-breaker for some, but it would be nice to know the listed price as soon as you see the ad, right? Well, the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) would like to remind online sellers that PM for the price is illegal in the first place. They didn't just up with it now either. It's a law that's been around since 1992.

Republic Act 7394, Article 81 explicitly states “It shall be unlawful to offer any consumer product for retail sale to the public without an appropriate price tag, label or marking publicly displayed to indicate the price of each article and said products shall not be sold at a price higher than that stated therein and without discrimination to all buyers”.

But why is the law present in the first place? According to the DTI, it's the right of the consumer to know the price of a product, and it serves as “protection against deceptive advertising or labeling”. On top of RA 7394, there's also the e-Commerce Act of 2000 or RA 8792.

In Section 33.c of the E-Commerce Act, it states “Violation of the Consumer Act or Republic Act No. 7394 and other relevant or pertinent laws through transactions covered by or using electronic data messages or electronic documents, shall be penalized with the same penalties as provided in those laws”. It's one of the parts of the law that makes “PM for price” illegal in the first place.

The e-Commerce Act covers goods sold through online platforms. That means it includes cars, parts, and anything that involves it too. Violating RA 8792 carries a hefty maximum penalty. Those who break any of the provisions in the law can face up to six years in prison or cough up to Php 1,000,000 in fines.