Mahfuja Mukul: The country’s e-commerce companies have played a pivotal role in getting products at home during the height of the coronavirus epidemic. But in less than a year, this sector has become the most criticized sector. In addition to getting products at home, many people invest lakhs of taka in lucrative offers in e-commerce. Evely was at the top of the fraudulent marketing.
After the trap of cheating was caught in the fence of Evaly, the government masks of several other e-commerce companies including Qcoom, Dhamaka, e-Orange were unveiled. Billions of taka of customers get stuck in the payment gateway. They could not get much benefit even after getting lost in the movement.
However, the Commerce Ministry has taken initiative to return Tk 214 crore stuck in the payment gateway among the affected customers. In the meantime, the customer will get back the money stuck in the gateway of the company which is out of the case from January.
It is learned that on December 15, the central bank had instructed the payment gateways to start refunding the money of the e-commerce companies stuck in the escrow service. But there are complications against e-commerce companies. So, a letter was sent to the police headquarters last week to inform the ministry of all the cases against the e-commerce companies within seven days for the release of this money.
After receiving this information, the customer will start paying from the first week of January. The matter of Evaly, the most talked about e-commerce company, is being looked after by a committee constituted by the High Court. The committee is headed by former Justice HM Samsuddin Chowdhury Manik. The committee will give their observations on how the issue of Evaly will be settled.
Commerce Ministry officials said the digital commerce cell has been linked to the import and internal trade division. This wing is working on it intensively. The cabinet department sought their views on seven issues and the report was given in three meetings on November 11. As well as a technical committee has worked on it. There was also a meeting about it last week.
The Digital Commerce Cell is working on how to pay the customer. Discussions are being held with all parties to return the remaining money to the customer.
Customers will get back moneyonline
In e-commerce, if the refund of e-commerce entities stuck in the escrow system started in the face of allegations of customer suffering, the refund will be given in the same manner in which the customer paid. Many customers are skeptical about the bounced checks issued by some e-commerce companies, including Evaly.
Officials of the Central Digital Commerce Cell said, “Since the customer has made the payment online, we will refund their money online once we start releasing the money.” They will get back to the system in which they made the payment. In this case, check bounce or any other problem like in the past.
Qcoom’s to return Tk 390 crore
E-commerce company Qcoom’stransaction of Tk 390 crore is stuck with the payment gateway Foster. In a letter to the Ministry of Commerce on September 17, e-commerce company Qcoom Foster Payments said that a large amount of money was stuck with their customers at a payment gateway company.
Foster Payments is basically the payment service wing of a company called SSD Tech. Besides Bangladesh, they also provide 24-hour service day and night in Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore.
Officials at the Commerce Ministry said those who ordered the products at Qcoomwould have their money deposited with Foster. They used to handover that money. The escrow service was launched on June 30, but before that, the money of Qcoom is stuck in Foster. Foster was called to a recent meeting about it. A meeting has been called on Tuesday (December 26). Foster’s managing director, Qcoom managing director, CID and others have been called there.
There are also allegations of money laundering against Foster. For this reason, they are trying to figure out how to get the money back with the permission of the court. Tk 390 crore is stuck here.
AHM Safiquzzaman, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Head, Central Digital Commerce Cell, told that in the last four or five months, there has been a catastrophe in which our major operators have been sued for unethical reasons. We are working on how to get the money back to the consumers. However, the refund of those who have lawsuits has become a matter for the court.
CID and Bangladesh Bank are working on it. But those who have no case against them have already informed Bangladesh Bank and issued a circular on 15th December to return the money. But those who have been given the letter do not know which one has the case and which one does not.
That’s why they hold a meeting last week and gave a letter to the police headquarters to give a list of those against whom there is a case. Because there are several companies working here. In that case, we have asked for a combined report that if we get those against whom there is a case, we will be able to return the money out of the case.
Asked when customers will start receiving money, he said, “Out of the Tk 214 crore, those that are out of the case will get it very soon.” Suddenly we will be able to release this money in the first week of January. If you get the list from the banks and operators, you will understand how much money can be released. E-commerce company QcoomTk 390 crore payment gateway is stuck near Foster. Trying to figure out how to get it back to the customer. We will meet again on Tuesday.
How to plan e-commerce
Throughout the year, many customers have lost their way due to the deception of some e-commerce companies which have been facing various criticisms. In such a situation, the Ministry of Commerce is planning on how to take e-commerce forward. Stakeholders are keeping an eye on this sector so that it can be prosperous on the basis of transparency.
Officials say there has been a lot of fuss about e-commerce and a lot of damage. But the Commerce Ministry wants e-commerce to move forward. There is no alternative but to take e-commerce forward. There are laws in place to promote e-commerce – consumer law, competition law, digital security law, new laws will be added or some of those laws will be added. There was no e-commerce authority, so work is underway on a digital commerce cell.
In this regard, AHM Safiquzzaman said that for e-commerce business, everyone has to come under registration, its work is nearing completion. We are technically running a test of it. We have cyber security issues there. A2I is working on how we can protect it. We will inaugurate it soon.
We will have a lot of applications in the beginning, so we may hand over the process of e-commerce registration to RJSC, which is working on registration of companies. But overall, the digital commerce cell from the commerce ministry will monitor it.
In July this year, the Commerce Ministry said Evaly owed Tk 500 crore to suppliers and customers. The current assets of the company amount to Tk 75 crore. Mohammad Russell, CEO of Evaly, and his wife Shamima Nasrin, chairman of the company, were arrested on September 17 in a fraud case.
Following the path of Evaly, the activities of many e-commerce companies including e-Orange, Dhamaka Shopping, Qcoom, Sirajganj Shop, Anander Bazar, SPC World, Nirapada.com were stopped. In such a situation, the government took initiative to return the customer’s money and bring e-commerce under one rule.
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