Consumer group seeks J&T’s license revocation

The United Filipino Consumers and Commuters filed a case at the Department of Information and Communications Technology seeking to revoke the operating licenses of J&T and its franchise partners due to unlawful business practices.

This comes after the inaugural State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., where he highlighted digitization of key sectors such as the logistics and supply chain space as the answer to the country’s progress.

“Because of the nature and the gravity of the violations and they’re so widespread, the punishment cannot be less than revocation. Dapat revocation na ng license to,” said former lawmaker and UFCC national advisor Jonathan Dela Cruz.

The UFCC is an advocacy group that protects consumer rights and acts as an intermediary between the government and the public by pushing for policy and regulatory reforms. As part of this advocacy, they are now closely monitoring the activities of the different logistics providers amid mounting complaints from consumers and sellers.

According to the consumer group, J&T undermines DICT’s efforts in regulating postal delivery service and threatens the growth and stability of the Philippine digital economy, which is a crucial sector for the country’s economic recovery plans.

“Considering how pervasive J&T’s services are nationwide, its numerous violations against the Postal Service Act and other laws are sufficient grounds to revoke its ‘Authority to Operate Express and/or Messenger Delivery Service’ license,” said Dela Cruz.

“We are not singling out J&T. However, most of the complaints that our office has received are about them,” he added.

In its letter sent to the DICT, the UFCC urges the government body to investigate the operations of J&T and its franchise partners that continue to conduct business without franchise permits, specifically the ones located in Manila, Quezon City, and Caloocan.

“Without the proper legal accreditation, consumers are at the mercy of these businesses. They have no recourse if their packages are mishandled and identifying the perpetrators will be difficult because of the lack of publicly accessible documents,” Dela Cruz said.

Last year, former President Rodrigo Duterte called for an investigation of J&T by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. The Bureau of Internal Revenue was also called to inspect the delivery firm’s finances.

Yet, the company is still operating to this day without any improvement in their operations, as evidenced by widespread consumer complaints.

These charges include mishandling of parcels resulting in damaged goods, contrabands found in J&T property, missing deliveries, overcharging clients with excessive delivery fees, misuse of private customer information, and unfair work policies.

In 2020, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated around 12 kilos or P81.6 million worth of suspected methamphetamines, a prohibited drug, in a warehouse owned by J&T.

Last June, the workers’ union United Rank and File Employees of J&T Express declared a strike calling for better labor conditions and payment of overtime pay and health benefits, among others. They cited unpaid overtime and diminution of allowances for long trips and when they get stranded during delivery, as well as forced labor.

Senator Risa Hontiveros had previously urged the Department of Labor and Employment to issue guidelines addressing unethical terms of employment and labor standards that will better protect and promote the welfare of delivery riders.

By 2025, parcels will equal mail in volume. Improving the logistics and supply chain efforts will fast-track the country’s digitization efforts towards a digital economy.

“This is just the first of many efforts of the UFCC to help rehabilitate the country’s digital system. We hope to make this as one of our main advocacies as we progress into the digital economy,” said Dela Cruz.

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