Four e-commerce platforms have expressed their willingness to refund the customers who were duped after ordering products.
Aladinerprodip, Alesha Mart, Sirajganj Shop and Dhamaka Shopping have agreed to pay back the money at a virtual meeting organised recently by the Ministry of Commerce.
In the meeting, presided over by Md Ruhul Amin, additional secretary to the commerce ministry, the e-commerce firms have been asked to submit a complete list of the customers, along with addresses, mobile numbers and amount of money, to the ministry within a week.
At the meeting, Alesha Mart Chairman Manjurul Islam Sikder said, “In the beginning, the amount of debt of Alesha Mart was Tk 800 crore. Of the amount, Tk 680 crore has been returned to the customers. Currently, the company owes Tk 116 crore to 8,000 customers. We have given a list of 154 customers to the commerce ministry to pay the money to the payment gateway.”
In the meeting, Mehdi Hasan Moon, chief executive officer of Aladinerprodip, said, “We have sent a list to the commerce ministry. Initiatives will be taken to refund the money of 1811 customers whose names have been submitted to the ministry. Besides, we are making a list of 800 more customers. This list will also be sent to the commerce ministry.”
Sirajganj Shop Managing Director Jewel Rana said, “Our company owes Tk 24 crore to 2,800 customers. Payment gateway Nagad owes more than Tk 8 crore to Sirajganj Shop, but the Nagad authorities have withdrawn the amount suspending the account without informing the Sirajganj shop. The issue has not been resolved despite contacting Nagad several times.”
He claimed that if this money is handed over, it will be possible to refund most of the money to the customers of Sirajganj Shop.
Jasim Uddin Chisti, managing director of Dhamaka Shopping, wants an opportunity to come back to the country without any problem to pay all the dues of the customers.
Claiming that several false cases of money laundering are pending against him, he said, “I have submitted all the information as per the demand of intelligence agency. No money from Dhamaka Shopping was laundered abroad.”
Customers who have been defrauded by ecommerce companies are receiving refunds, but the refund is getting delayed due to complications.
A total of Tk 525 crore, which 27 e-commerce companies owed to customers, was stuck in payment gateways. So far, 14 e-commerce companies have refunded Tk 365 crore and Tk 160 crore have not yet been refunded to the customers.
Apart from this, the possibility of getting back the money paid before June 30, 2021 is low. Customers have been complaining to the National Directorate of Consumer Rights Protection claiming that these e-commerce companies owed a lot of money to them before that time.
The central Digital Commerce Cell of the commerce ministry is overseeing the refunding of the customers’ money. The process of refunding the dues of customers began from January 2022.
According to the commerce ministry sources, the money of customers stuck in various e-commerce platforms were deposited through a total of five payment gateway institutions — Bkash, Nagad, Software Shop Limited, Shurjomukhi Limited and Foster Corporation.
The sources said 12 out of 27 e-commerce platforms have not returned any money to more than 25,000 customers while 13 platforms returned partially. Some of the companies that have not refund customers’ money are Sirajganj Shop, Aladinerprodip, Needs, 24tkt.com, e-Orange, Wikum, Akasnil, Priyashop, Amar Bazaar, Asthar Pratik, homeshop.com, Safe and Infinity Marketing etc.
Out of the money stuck in five gateways, Qcoom has returned the maximum of Tk 299 crore. About Tk 26 crore of customers are stuck in Evaly. Evaly has so far refunded Tk 84 lakh to customers. Besides, Alesha Mart has returned Tk 40.67 crore, out of Tk 42.73 crore stuck in the payment gateway, to the customers.