Senior Citizen Sues Hotel for Denial of Discounts Despite Promo Without DTI Approval

In Manila, a senior citizen, Melinda Rada, has filed a legal complaint against a hotel for denying her and other seniors the mandated discounts during promotional offers without the required Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) approval. The Consumer Act of the Philippines stipulates that all sales promotions must first secure permission from the DTI, a regulation designed to protect consumers, including seniors and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), from deceptive pricing practices.

Rada’s case emerged when she was denied her entitled 12% VAT exemption and 20% senior citizen discount at the hotel, claiming their rates were on ‘promo’. However, the hotel failed to provide evidence of DTI clearance for this promotion. In response to a letter from Rada’s counsel, the hotel offered to grant the discount along with a complimentary overnight stay, an offer Rada declined.

Instead, Rada demanded that the hotel display notices informing of the senior and PWD discounts, advise the Philippine Hotel Owners Association of these legal mandates, and donate PHP 250,000 to a senior citizens’ organization. The hotel, however, did not agree to these terms and maintained that the denial was due to a misunderstanding, which they claimed to have corrected.

The issue was taken to the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau of DTI for mediation, which failed, leading to a certificate to file action and Rada taking her case to the Prosecutor’s Office. Under Philippine law, violations of the Senior Citizens Law by corporations can lead to penalties including fines and imprisonment for management officials.

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