KUALA LUMPUR: There is an urgent need for the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry to set up an online database of blacklisted online retailers said a consumer rights advocate.
The Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said this was the best defence consumers have against habitual online fraudsters.
“The database should be easily accessible to the public and updated frequently. It should name and shame blacklisted retailers.”
“And publish not just the name of the online store and the business registration details but the name of the proprietors with their mugshots.
“It should also have links to relevant authorities such as Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the police,” he said.
Nadzim also said that authorities together with stakeholders should come up with a framework on how a company can be blacklisted, whether it is based on complaints or legal action.
He expressed disappointment that such a facility was not made available from the get-go when e-commerce first rose to prominence in Malaysia more than five years ago.
Nadzim said the oversight by the ministry had caused the number of fraudsters as well as lack of professionalism in the lucrative industry to go by unchecked.
“They now rank second in our (PPIM) list of consumers complaints and have accounted for 30 to 35 per cent of the 17,000 odd complaints we receive yearly over the past three to four years,” he told the New Straits Times.
He also said that due to the increasing number of complaints on online traders it may be advisable to set up a special section within the framework of the consumer claims tribunal to protect customers who have been short-changed by online retailers.
Nadzim was commenting on suggestions by consumers pushing for authorities to introduce some form of regulation to ensure that those who end up getting cheated have an avenue for redresss.
Consumers called for the ministry to form a special platform to take up cases against online sellers, while suggesting that it could possibly be introduced within the Consumer Claims Tribunal.
This followed New Straits Times report that the ministry is cracking down on online traders, including those on social media, who do not list the prices and other details of their products and services.
The ministry had ruled that individuals running online businesses without observing the eight requirements listed by the ministry could be fined up to RM50,000 or face a jail term of not more than three years, or both.
The requirement by the Consumer Protection Act 1999 includes displaying the price, seller’s name, registration number, contact information, product description, methods of payment, terms and conditions, and estimated delivery time.