Click­ing off on on­line cheats

Give peo­ple av­enue for re­dress in case they are cheated, say on­line shop­pers

New Straits Times - - Front Page - FARHANA SYED NOKMAN KUALA LUMPUR farhanasyed@nst.com.my

THE num­ber of on­line scams has risen in tan­dem with the pop­u­lar­ity of on­line trans­ac­tions. Con­sumers want an­other plat­form to take up cases against on­line sell­ers who cheat them. Right now, they are re­sort­ing to lodg­ing po­lice re­ports.

AS the num­ber of on­line shop­ping trans­ac­tions con­tin­ues to soar, con­sumers are push­ing for au­thor­i­ties to in­tro­duce some form of reg­u­la­tion to en­sure that those who end up get­ting cheated have an av­enue for re­dress.

One of the op­tions sug­gested was for the Do­mes­tic Trade, Co­op­er­a­tives and Con­sumerism Min­istry to pro­vide a spe­cial plat­form, pos­si­bly un­der the con­sumer tri­bunal, to take up cases against on­line sell­ers who cheat buy­ers.

Right now, vic­tims only have the op­tion of lodg­ing a po­lice re­port, and it ends there.

The New Straits Times re­ceived com­plaints on the is­sue fol­low­ing its front-page re­port yes­ter­day on a law to en­sure that sell­ers pro­vide full dis­clo­sure on the prices of their goods and ser­vices.

Many said on­line pur­chase scams had be­come ram­pant and some sell­ers were bla­tantly tak­ing on­line shop­pers for a ride.

A vic­tim, Bibi Sha­reen Zeno­rai, 30, re­lated how she bought a pair of lim­ited edi­tion shoes on­line, which cost her RM600, four years ago.

“I waited for two months and when I con­tacted the sell­ers, they kept say­ing there was an is­sue with the Cus­toms and I had to wait. They re­peated the same ex­cuse every time I called.

“I was left frus­trated... the only thing I could do was to warn oth­ers by post­ing mes­sages on their web­site and Face­book pages. How­ever, when­ever I posted the neg­a­tive feed­back, it was deleted.

“In the end, I told them I was con­sid­er­ing lodg­ing a po­lice re­port. To my sur­prise, the sell­ers chal­lenged me to do so. They said many oth­ers had also con­sid­ered do­ing the same.”

Bibi said she ended up los­ing RM600 and took it as a les­son learnt as she knew it was un­likely any­thing would hap­pen even if she had lodged a re­port.

An­other vic­tim, Dainaziah Mohd Nasir, 36, said she suf­fered losses of RM12,065 af­ter buy­ing a pop­u­lar cake mixer prod­uct for RM1,600, which was be­low mar­ket price, on mu­dah.my.

“Af­ter I saw a post on the prod­uct on the web­site, I texted the seller to make an in­quiry.

“The seller sent me pic­tures of her shop in KB Mall in Ke­lan­tan to prove that she was a le­git­i­mate seller. I trans­ferred the money and re­ceived a confirmation email from a courier ser­vice, its track­ing num­ber and a re­ceipt of the air courier ser­vice for a next­day de­liv­ery.

“How­ever, I started hav­ing doubts when the email stated that the item was sent from Brunei in­stead of Ke­lan­tan.”

Dainaziah said she later re­ceived an­other email from the courier ser­vice de­mand­ing that she pay an in­surance charge of RM1,500. Upon con­tact­ing the seller, she was ad­vised to make the pay­ment and was told that she would be re­im­bursed later.

“The courier ser­vice kept on email­ing me re­quest­ing for ad­di­tional pay­ment un­til I ended up pay­ing a to­tal of RM12,065,” she said, adding that the cake mixer was never de­liv­ered. She lodged a po­lice re­port.

So­cial me­dia was flooded with Ne­ti­zens prais­ing the min­istry’s move to go af­ter on­line traders as re­ported by NST.

Face­book user Ami­rah Rus­lan said: “Please en­force this. I’m 100 per cent with you.”

Kam Hashim said : “Thank you. I am an­gry with this an­noy­ing prac­tice of not dis­play­ing the price of items for sale.

“I don’t un­der­stand why I have to go the ex­tra mile just to know the price. Can you imag­ine if stores sold items with­out price tags on them? Is it be­cause they want to change the price when they feel like it?

“I do buy things on­line, but usu­ally from those who dis­play their prices up front.”

It was re­ported that the min­istry is go­ing af­ter on­line traders, in­clud­ing those on so­cial me­dia, who did not list the prices and other de­tails of their prod­ucts and ser­vices.

In­di­vid­u­als run­ning on­line busi­nesses with­out ob­serv­ing the eight re­quire­ments listed by the min­istry could be fined up to RM50,000 or face a jail term of not more than three years, or both.

The re­quire­ment by the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act 1999 in­cludes dis­play­ing the price, seller’s name, reg­is­tra­tion num­ber, con­tact in­for­ma­tion, prod­uct de­scrip­tion, meth­ods of pay­ment, terms and con­di­tions, and es­ti­mated de­liv­ery time.

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