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E-commerce on default: Govt hopes to refund blocked money by Sept

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 16th August, 2022 10:46:59 AM
  • Print news
E-commerce on default: Govt hopes to refund blocked money by Sept

The government is expected to complete the process of refunding consumers’ money of 24 e-commerce platforms by September.

The money was blocked in the gateway due to some legal complexities.

“We have been so far able to refund Tk 213.66 crore that was blocked in the payment gateway,” said Md. Sayeed Ali, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Central Digital Commerce Cell.

He said, "We are working to ensure that all the clients of those e-commerce platforms get their money back.”

Deputy secretary said the ministry’s Central Digital Commerce Cell was not able to refund the money as it was blocked at e-Orange' and Evaly platforms due to ongoing legal procedures against them.

He, however, added that the government cannot control those e-commerce platforms including Anandabazar who were operating their business from abroad.

On January 24, 2022, the government formally transferred the money to first 20 customers of Qcoom, according to official documents.

Of the 17,789 transactions, for which Qcoom customers neither received products nor were refunded, Foster refunded Tk158.77 crore for 17,175 transactions.

However, some of other top e-commerce firms and their payment gateways failed to show any significant progress with refunds, according to the sources in Bangladesh Bank and the Ministry of Commerce.

According to the reports, Dalal Plus returned Tk 12.23 crore while Alesha Mart refunded Tk 39.18 crore.

Foster Corporations senior manager Md Al Beruni stated that Foster Corporation continues to issue refunds once due diligence is completed for a batch of refund requests as shared by Qcoom and verified by the relevant authorities.

"We are returning the money to the consumers following the appropriate process," he said.

“Refunds are processed through the same payment platform that a customer had used to make the payment in the first place i.e., debit cards, bank accounts, and mobile financial services (MFS). We have so far repaid over Tk 158 crore.”

According to Beruni, "Tk 394 crore of fund from Qcoom customers’ transactions is securely kept through a number of commercial bank accounts.”

“Once we receive a refund request from Qcoom, we do a thorough verification and request the committee formed by the Ministry of Commerce to initiate refund procedure,” he said.

In regards to the entire process, Mahbubul Matin, President of Dotlines Group, the parent company of Foster Corporation, stated, "We have worked hand in hand with the Ministry of Commerce and Bangladesh Bank to facilitate refund process as per the set guidelines.”

“We have dedicated our efforts to rebuild this sector and bring back consumers’ trust," he added.