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Why don’t on­line sell­ers dis­close the prices of their goods?

The ques­tion has cer­tainly raised plenty of de­bate on­line, and drew the at­ten­tion of the Do­mes­tic Trade, Co­op­er­a­tives and Con­sumerism Min­istry. The min­istry will soon be crack­ing down on such un­scrupu­lous prac­tices, and that on­line sell­ers will come un­der scru­tiny the same way reg­u­lar re­tail­ers do.

What are your views?

It’s very frus­trat­ing when you come across an item you like and in or­der to find out how much it is, you have to mes­sage the seller pri­vately. This cuts across a whole lot of prod­ucts, from cos­met­ics all the way to real es­tate. Why is this? Some peo­ple have told me that this is the seller’s way of boost­ing en­gage­ment. But to me, as a con­sumer, it just screams that I’m go­ing to be cheated and I’m go­ing to be quoted a price that’s difer­ent from some­one else.


Does the min­istry re­ally think that they can im­pose reg­u­la­tions on on­line traders, es­pe­cially those on so­cial me­dia? It’s a very hard area to po­lice, and the mo­ment you de­cide to take ac­tion against one per­son, the trader just changes phone num­bers and sets up an­other Face­book page. I truly wish the min­istry well in their ef­fort to clean up the traders’ acts but I am skep­ti­cal that it will work.


I’ve said it be­fore and I’ll say it again. The power lies with the con­sumers. The pur­chas­ing power is in your hands and it is you who should be mak­ing the de­ci­sion to not buy from traders who take a lib­eral view of what is legally and morally cor­rect. If they don’t play by the rules, don’t buy from them. Buy from some­one else. These traders need your money, don’t for­get that.


It goes with­out say­ing that some on­line traders have less scru­ples than oth­ers. I’ve been burnt many times be­fore by of­fers that seem too good to be true, and well, guess how they turned out. The on­line mar­ket via so­cial me­dia in Malaysia is still very much akin to the ‘wild, wild west’, where there is lit­tle su­per­vi­sion go­ing on. Any ef­fort to reg­u­late this would be very much wel­comed.


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