A bill which seeks to protect consumers against the imposition of unreasonable and exorbitant parking fees by owners of malls, hospitals schools, and other establishments has started moving in the Senate.
Senator Win Gatchalian said that Senate Bill No. 745, or the Parking Fees Regulation Act, which he authored, is a “timely and straightforward measure” as it will set standard parking rates in various establishments for all motor vehicles, establish parking fee regulations, and penalize violators.
The Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship has scheduled the next hearing of the bill on October 8.
For the Gatchalian, SBN 745 is a consumer-friendly, especially for the emerging middle class, since it can potentially make parking vehicles in shopping malls and similar establishments, notwithstanding the location, fair, and affordable to them.
The lawmaker pointed out that consumers, especially those in Metro Manila and urban areas, have no choice but to pay the excessive parking fees imposed by commercial complexes even if the latter have already profited from the purchase of goods and services by the former.
“These unfair, anti-consumer policies have gone for long enough. It is time for Congress to employ its plenary power to regulate a problem that is simple, yet vital to millions of Filipinos in the emerging middle class,” Gatchalian said in his explanatory note.
Under Senate Bill 745, the imposition of fees for the use of parking spaces and facilities in shopping malls, hospitals, schools or other similar establishments, including vacant lots and buildings that are solely devoted for parking slot use will be regulated to keep prices within reasonable bounds.
Gatchalian proposed a standard parking fee of only P40 per vehicle for up to eight hours and additional P10 for every succeeding hour. For overnight parking, a customer shall be charged a one-time fee of P100 per vehicle.
The measure also waives the parking fee of customers who have purchased at least P1,000 worth of goods or services, provided that they have used the parking space for not more than three hours.
Senate Bill 745 also aims to hold establishment owners accountable “in case of loss of property or damage to the customer’s motor vehicle” while inside their parking spaces by prohibiting them from invoking a waiver of liability.
“Business establishments shall maintain and provide security in the parking spaces of their establishments. When parking fees are collected by business establishments from their customers for the use of parking spaces, these establishments shall be responsible for the safety of its patrons and shall be prohibited from invoking the waiver of liability in case of loss of property or damage to the customer’s motor vehicle,” Gatchalian said.
“The key here is to strike an equitable middle-ground that will afford consumers the necessary protections without excessively hampering the ability of legitimate parking enterprises from conducting fair and profitable business,” he added.