Elderly man files complaint after being “scammed” at appliance store

by Jyasmin Calub-Bautista

A 74-year old Los Baños resident filed a complaint against Univox Enterprise, a store located at Centtro Mall along Lopez Avenue in Brgy. Batong Malake, after its sales staff allegedly used “fast-paced itemization and demo” tactics to convince him to buy PhP 76,900 worth of assorted kitchen and health gadgets.

According to the complaint report filed on November 13 at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Negosyo Center – Los Baños, the Univox sales staff approached the man as he was leaving Savemore Supermarket on November 7. They invited him to claim a free umbrella at the Univox store at the second floor of Centtro Mall.

The November 7 sales invoice issued by Univox to the elderly Los Baños resident, who requested that his name be excluded from this report.

At the Univox store, the elderly man was invited to sit in a massage chair as sales staff turned it on and explained its merits. When the man said he was not buying the chair, another staff applied a massage gadget on his arm, while the store supervisor asked him to pick from a stack of cards and told him that he had won a PhP 2,000 discount coupon.

“In rapid sequence, talking, product demo and loud music, they added one after another the other items,” read the statement. At the end of the sales pitch, the man was convinced to purchase the massage chair, an energy cooker, a multipurpose cooker, a cutlery set, a cookware set, a beauty massager, and a body fat scale, for a “special sale price” of “only PhP 76,900”.  A Univox staff member accompanied the man to a local bank, where he withdrew cash to pay for the items.

Univox products “sold” to the complainant amounting to PhP 76,900.

“My wife was shocked when I told her my experience and insisted, na-budol-budol ka (you were scammed),” the man’s statement read.

The complaint has been forwarded to the DTI Consumer Protection Division.

Expired business name, products without ICC stickers

After filing the complaint, the man and his wife went to the store to return the items, accompanied by a police officer and DTI business counselor Miladie Peñaloza-Peñarubia. According to Peñarubia, their office is checking records to confirm whether the store’s business permit is still valid, and has warned other Laguna-based Negosyo Centers about the complaint.  “Ang kailangan namin ay strong evidence, yung complaints talaga na nakarecord,” Peñarubia added.

Peñarubia also noted that some appliances such as rice cookers being sold in the store do not have an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker. Under DTI’s Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 4. S. 2008, manufacturers and importers of home appliances such as electric fans, flat irons, kitchen machines, audio and video products, washing machines, and air conditioners are required to secure a certification from the Bureau of Product Standards before they can sell their products in the Philippine market.

After returning the items, the complainant was told that his money would be returned by November 24. “We will be checking if the payment was settled,” Peñarubia said.

Aggressive sales tactics

“Para siyang form of hypnotism eh, hahawakan ka sa balikat, papalakpakan ka, dudumugin ka nila, to the end na mako-convice ka kasi ang dami nila na nagko convince sa iyo. Ganun yung style nila,” Peñarubia said. “For you to release PhP 77,000 (in such a short time), wala ka sa normal  na pag-iisip mo,” she added.

Penarubia noted that the same tactics had been used by another store with similar products. The said store’s Los Baños branch was ordered shut down in 2007 after complaints were filed by former customers.

Univox Marketing Team Leader Jaime Cañete claims that their sales tactics are not a “budol-budol” scam as some allege. “Ang process ng company is kami nag-iinvite, tapos demonstration the products, then, package offer, promo. Direct ano kami, selling. There is a malaking difference between budol-budol and direct advertising. Kasi sa budol-budol, kinuhanan siya ng pera pero wala siyang naiuwing product, walang kapalit. So sa amin naman, may bayad, tapos may product. Bumili sya ng items, parang ganun,” Cañete said.

Similar experiences

An online search for the name of “Univox Enterprise” and the aforementioned store revealed numerous blog and social media posts by people who felt that they had been “scammed”, “victimized”, and “fooled” by sales staff at the companies’ branches in Laguna, Cavite, Metro Manila, Cagayan Province, Cebu, and Iloilo. In many of the cases, attempts to return the items were thwarted by sales staff.

A similar complaint against Univox was filed at the Los Baños DTI Office last year by a UP Los Baños employee, who was induced to buy PhP 20,000 worth of Univox products. The victim submitted a notarized hardcopy of the complaint against Univox at the Los Baños municipal office and an electronic copy to the DTI Sta. Cruz Office. With the assistance of the Los Baños municipal government and Mayor Caesar Perez, the complainant was able to get her money back.

Peñarubia is encouraging other customers to come forward and file formal complaints, especially those who were unable to recover their money. “The way for us to limit these kinds of activities is for them to complain so that we will have enough evidence to shut the store down,” she said.


Complainants may get in touch with Miladie Peñaloza-Peñarubia, business counselor at the DTI Negosyo Center. The office is located in front of the Los Baños Municipal Hall, National Highway, Brgy. Timugan. Los Baños, Laguna. They may also call the office at (049) 559-0254 or email [email protected].

10 thoughts on “Elderly man files complaint after being “scammed” at appliance store

  1. i did experience that only that hindi nila ako na convince bumili. Thank God di ako nagpaloko pero di nila nabigay ang free umbrella. magaling sila mag sales talk buti na lang di ako bumilib sa mga sinasbi nila. Buti nga sa inyo makulong sana kayo.

  2. Nanalo ang mama ko ngayong araw Dec 18 2018 sa Tondo manila , Univox enterprise .. at pinagbabayad siya 66,900 . Ang advise sa kanya pedeng installment since wala naman ganun kalaking pera ang mama ko .. nagdown siya ng 3000 . For the rice cooker .. pede po ba namin itong ireport ?? Reply thanks

  3. Univox team did the very same tactics to my husband yesterday at 5:45pm. They were very quick to swipe our credit card. But since we did not bring home the products which they said to be claimed after two days, we plan not to claim those anymore and have reported this matter to our credit card provider to dispute the charges. THIS MODUS MUST STOP!

  4. My Mom was also a victim on this last 03/06/2019 at CAEDO mall Batangas City. But she just only paid 10,000 pesos because she doesn’t have enough money which is 82,000 for the 6 products that is cost for 300,000. And they stated that my mom can get all the 6 products if she fully paid for 82,000. So, what are we going to do regarding to my Mom’s case.

  5. Ako rin kabibili ko lang kagabi (June 10, 2019) ganon tactics nila na di ka na makapag isip. Nagugulumihanan ako . after 2 hours di na ako makatulog. iniisip ko kung papaano ko yon babayaran. wala ako sapat na pambayad don buwan buwan, baka ako mabaon sa credit card na ginamit ko don. eto ay sa VIGAPINO ENTERPRISE CHECK POINT MALL CALAMBA CITY. Saan ako pwedi mag reklamo ,dyan din ba sa Los Banos o dito na sa calamba DTI?

  6. This happening to me right now halospareho ng case na nabasa q s ginawa nila sakin pupunta kami ngayon s stall nila para makilagusap DTI sana po matulungan nyo ako.. address nila VICTORY PARK AND SHOP ML QUEZON ST. COR.T OLDAN ST SAN ISIDRO ANTIPOLO CITY

  7. Na scammed din ako kagabi dyan OPTIMUN PRODUCTS STORE sa Ever emporum sa Avenida,Manila kagabi Sept 16,2019..4:00pm.I’m 66 yrs old senior citizen of Pandacan,Manila

  8. My mom had the same experience. They delivered the items unpaid here in our house. Due to my unstoppable temper i torn the papers they were showing and i told them were not paying the items. Regardless if nakakahiya ako sa pag bubunganga ko sa kanila. I did not let my mom pay it instead i kept on telling them that the request is cancelled. Wala silang nagawa. Better yet sana lang hindi sila bumalik dito sa bahay.

  9. Same experience sa parents ko last October 2019. Same products pero ibang company naman. Michikawa Enterprise naman. Bibili lang sana ang parents ko ng lemon sa Primark Rosario, Cavite, pag-uwi may mga dala ng kung ano anong products worth 84K. Patuloy pa rin sila sa ganyang modus.

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