Clicking off on online cheats
Give people avenue for redress in case they are cheated, say online shoppers
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.