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Bangladesh - January 18, 2022

Omicron making dependence againon e-commerce

2021 was a black chapter for e-commerce

Golam Mostafa Jibon: E-commerce, an online shopping medium, which got unbelievable exciting developments in the financial sector during the Corona pandemicin 2021, is now facing extreme image crisis due to continuously fraudulent incidents.
Thousands of clients of different e-commerce companies are still in uncertainty over getting back their money, while under operation companies including new ones are facing trouble for confidence crisis.
However, many people are now leaning into the e-commerce service again due to surge of Coronavirus’s new variant Omicron. But, they don’t know what is waiting for their fates in future, experts said.
Though, the government assures to take necessary steps for refunding the money, many clients are still in darkness and expressing their disappointment as they can’t see visible progress of the government process in context of realizing money from the fraudster companies.
Though, the e-commerce sector got a massive glint in the beginning of corona pandemic, the sector immediately faced a breach in 2021after falling into thetrap of e-fraudsters’ money embezzlement.
In the midst of ups and downs, 17
e-commerce companies closed their operations by embezzling thousands of crore of Taka in a limited period of time. Fraud victims filed cases against all of the companies. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police during the investigation of these cases also found evidence of embezzlement huge amount of money from the clients. After the incident, questions raised against other companies. In consequence, most of the companies were brought under scanner by the intelligence agencies. Unfortunately, investigation found irregularities in the almost all companies. In the first stage, CID found evidence of embezzling at around Tk 350 crore from customers by four e-commerce companies.
Meanwhile, a number of e-fraudsters were arrested in the face of consumers’ movements and lawsuits over embezzling thousands of crores of Taka by laying out fraudulent nets like Destiny-2000 Ltd. Those, who were in the discussion for embezzling money during the whole period of Corona pandemic last year, are now spending their days in the four walls of the prison.
The fraudsters misappropriated money from the consumers alluring by several attractive offers like half of the price for buying motorbikes, ACs, refrigerators, televisions and other daily necessities. But, they gave terms and condition saying that the benefits of these offers will get after advance payment of the products’ prices.
E-valleystarted the business in early 2021 with MLM organization Destiny’s business model as well as extensive online promotion as well as sponsoring the national cricket team. This company also created the biggest stir in the e-commerce world of the country. This year alone, a number of customer complaints were lodged against the company, which started offering products at a discount of 200 to 300 percent. There are many cases. E-valleyChairman Shamima Nasrin and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mohammad Russell were arrested on charge of misappropriating money and swindling with the customers. There is allegation of embezzling Tk 403 crore from the clients against the company.
E-Orange is a similar e-commerce company right after E-valley. A customer filed a case against the officials of the company alleging fraudulently embezzling Tk 1,100 crore.
After the case, the main owner of the company Sonia Mehzabin and her husband police officer Masukur Rahmanand one of the leaders Inspector of Police Sohel Rana and all concerned were also covered up. Of them,Sohel Rana was arrested by the Indian Border Security Force. e-Orange attracted the attention of the general peoplethrough the advertisement of cricketer Mashrafe Bin Mortaza as a brand ambassador at various media including television. Not far behind was Dhamaka, Q-Com, more than a dozen companies like Alesha Mart. All the companies gain confidence by using popular people by advertising and explaining some products including bikes ordered by the customer at the beginning. Besides, millions of consumers stumble upon such products. Many people invest up to crores of Taka.
Earlier, ‘Dhamaka Digital’ started journey in 2018 and was renamed as ‘Dhamaka Shopping.com’ in 2020. Clients filed cases against Dhamaka Shopping.com for embezzling around Tk 129.77 crore. Officials of the company were arrested in these cases and are currently in jail. The people involved in the investigation of the case said that, even though the company misappropriated Tk 750 crore, the owner of the company Chishti has assets worth Tk 240 crore.
Ring ID was not behind any of the deceptions. After the arrest of Saiful Islam, the director of the company, the CID said that, in just three months, Ring ID collected more than Tk 213 crore from depositors. At first, they started as a common platform for social media, but later they started collecting investment from depositors with promise of various services.
Among the promised services,there were foreign investment and community jobs. They also collect donations during Corona pandemic. In May alone, Ring ID collected Tk 23.94 crore, Tk 109.93 crore in June and Tk 79.36 crore in July.
Cucom closed offices like e-valley because it could not cope with the pressure of creditors and customers to take part in the same fraud. Ripon Mian, the company’s founder and CEO and his associate, former radio jockey (RJ) Nirab, announced on Facebook live that they would close their offices and work from home. They also request customers not to crowd under their homes at this time. In addition to the proliferation of e-commerce during the Corona epidemic, they were accused of swindling crores of Taka from customers by opening various sites. Customers allege that Cucom embezzled Tk 400 crore from customers by imitating e-valley.
Besides, Sirajganj Shop.com, Dalal Plus, SPC World.ticket24.com, Rapid Cash, Sahoj Life and Lovely Life, Anand Bazar, Thale.com and Ucom.com Alif World and Alesha Mart have embezzled money from clients. Meanwhile, the E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (E-CAB), an organization of e-commerce traders, has demanded that the existing laws to be amended and monitored without creating new laws and regulatory authorities in view of the recent problems in the country’s e-commerce sector.
After reviewing the latest situation, it is learned that fraudulent owners of all e-commerce companies, who were grown with the mentality of fraud, are now spending their days in jail and fraudulent customers are in danger as they are not getting their money back.

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