Tuesday, 19 October, 2021
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E-commerce boom going bust?

E-commerce boom going bust?

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Thanks to the government’s ‘Digital Bangladesh’ campaign, the country has witnessed a tremendous rise in the use of technology and a plethora of administrative and financial services have been digitised. Capitalising on the situation, e-commerce business has boomed in Bangladesh. The people were also getting seamless services through e-commerce sites, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. But just as a rotten apple spoils the whole barrel, a number of fraudulent sites have almost jeopardized the reputation of the whole e-commerce industry. The people are about to lose their confidence on the burgeoning e-commerce industry because of the revelation of one after another incident of massive financial fraudulence involving e-commerce sites.

In absence of any regulatory authority the e-commerce industry has grown haphazardly. There were no relevant law and oversight on those sites, and even no registration was required to launch an online business. Only recently, the commerce ministry has initiated the process of registration of the e-commerce sites. This came in the aftermath of some massive scams which victimized millions of people.

It is estimated that there are about 700-800 e-commerce sites in the country. Reportedly, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has also listed 60 e-commerce sites based on the complaints of their customers. Of the 60 sites, about 30 are under strong surveillance of the law enforcers. This kind of monitoring and oversight is necessary considering that some organizations just set cobwebs of deception in the name of e-commerce and giving hefty offers or cash back etc.

A number of companies including Evaly and e-orange have swindled their customers of millions of taka by capitalizing on their marketing stunt and naivety of the people. And it is astonishing that thousands of people made advance payment for their products in these so-called sites without having a lurking suspicion that they might be tricked! Here the greed of a section of people has certainly played a big role behind the growth of the fraudulent e-commerce sites. The authorities concerned must ensure registration of all law-abiding e-commerce sites and there is also a need for a more thorough monitoring.