With online businesses booming ahead of Eid consumers complained about getting cheated.
Despite poor service and irregularities online businesses are booming with none around to take action against even gross malpractices, said jilted consumers.
Online shopping has gained momentum in the country as consumers prefer to shop braving the capital’s mindboggling traffic jams.
Approximately 40,000 online transactions took place daily this Ramadan.
And with Eid-ul Fitr approaching the transactions increased.
Before the advent of Ramadan barely 20,000 online transactions took place, the official data the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh shared with New Age revealed.
Online transactions tripled since 2016 when the daily transactions never exceeded 13,000, e-CAB executives told New Age.
Daily online sales exceeded Tk 400 crore as Eid is hardly three days away depending on moon sighting.
In 2016, the sales during Ramadan did not exceed Tk120, said e-CAB general secretary M Abdul Wahed Tomal.
Now, he said, from grocery items to home appliances are bought online.
He said consumers were preferring online shopping to avoid traffic jams and the wet weather.
Many consumers said they love to skirt mad rush at the shopping malls.
But the short cuts are not without costs like fraudulence, inefficient service as well as irregularities by online stores that hurt the consumers.
Many consumers said they were delivered items they never ordered for.
Delay in home delivery was a common complaint.
There were also complaints that damaged or date expired products were supplied to consumers.
Not so infrequent complaint was that online stores failed to supply goods they took orders for to say later that they did not remember that these were not in their stocks.
Bangladesh currently has about 2,000 online stores and 7,000 facebook based sales outlets, said online entrepreneurs.
According to official data of Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, from May 2017 to March 2018, at least 700 complaints were filed against the ‘online business’ platforms.
DNCRP assistant director Masum Arefin said that consumers complain against online stores quite frequently.
He said that following complaints action was taken against many e-commerce companies including Daraz.com, pickaboo.com, ajkerdeal.com, chaldaal.com etc.
He said that a maximum fine of Tk 1.50 lakh was realized from a single online entity.
He, however, did not disclose the name of entity.
New Age also received complaints against reputed as well as little known online stores.
During visits to facebook pages used by the four leading online stores over the last one month New Age saw that at least 120 complaints had been posted against them by consumers across the country.
The service of Chaldal.com has deteriorated recently complained its regular consumer and working mom Munmun Roy.
Capital’s merchant Md Asif Iqbal Pulock on June 8 posted his complaint on the facebook page of Daraz.com that the online store supplied an air conditioner at his home on June 8 following his order, but the AC was left uninstalled.
Chaldal.com’s co-founder Waseem Alim told New Age, ‘We are aware about the issues and we are trying to resolve them.’
pickaboo.com’s brand manager Shabab Din Shareq admitted that they could not supply goods to consumers as they were not in the stocks.
He said that efforts were on to address the issues.
e-CAB director Afzal Hossain said they received about 20 complaints over e-mail per week.
‘As there is nothing we can do , we would request jilted consumers to lodge complaints with the DNCRP,’ he said.
He, however, said that the mushrooming facebook based online stores were cheating or committing the irregularities.
On March 28, 2017, company executive Suny Raman complained to DNCRP that he bought a mobile phone from a Facebook page based store Nokia Gallery BD for Tk 3000. But the online store supplied him a cellphone of half the price.
Following his complaint, Masum Arefin said they called the online store owner twice and held drives against it also twice to find out that Nokia Gallery BD was not there at the given address.
It gets difficult to take action against non-existent and unlicensed entities often supplying things other than what they showcased to harass and deceive consumers, he said.
Wasim and Afzal said that sometimes online sellers also complain about consumers refusal to pay for the goods supplied to them.
They said that the government should make laws and policies for dealing with any issue arising in the new area.
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