Legal Notice Requested to Pay Tk 2.14b Refund to E-Commerce Customers

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The Ministry of Commerce has requested the opinion of the Ministry of Justice on the legal aspects concerning the reimbursement of more than Tk 2.14 billion to e-commerce customers.

The ministry asked the Law and Justice Division of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs on Sunday.

Currently, more than Tk 2.14 billion remains stuck in various payment gateways – this amount was prepaid by e-commerce customers against their ordered products, a source from the Law and Justice division said.

On November 2, 2021, Bangladesh Bank (BB) requested the Ministry of Commerce to reimburse more than Tk 2.14 billion of money from e-commerce customers blocked on different payment gateways.

In accordance with BB’s request, the Commerce Department sought legal advice to resolve the matter quickly.

On June 30, the central bank introduced an escrow service on payments to e-commerce platforms.

Since the publication of a circular on October 14, 2021 on the problem of botched e-commerce, more than Tk 5.05 billion had been paid to payment gateways by affected customers against the goods they had ordered.

Of this amount, payment gateways have already settled more than Tk 2.91 billion on online marketplaces.

The remaining Tk 2.14 billion stuck in the various service companies including SSL, shurjoMukhi, Foster, bKash, Nagad and Southeast Bank Ltd.

Of the blocked amount, more than Tk 1.65 billion of Qcoom online purchases, paid by its customers against ordered goods, were blocked with Foster Payments.

And more than Tk 485 million has been stranded in other payment gateways, according to a letter from the central bank.

Earlier, during a special meeting on the struggling e-commerce sector held at the Ministry of Commerce on October 25, 2021 under the chairmanship of Minister of Commerce Tipu Munshi, the government decided to take measures to repay 2.14 billion of Tk blocked in different payment gateways. to e-commerce customers in three months.

Complexities have arisen in the reimbursement of money blocked in payment gateways due to the shutdown of operations of these affected e-commerce platforms, it is mentioned in the letter from the central bank.

“E-commerce companies can claim the amount they paid to their customers if it is proven that they have supplied previous products to the affected customers,” the letter sent by BB’s payment systems department said.

Relevant government agencies are working to reimburse money that was prepaid by customers from July 1 to October 14, he adds.

The Tk 2.14 billion amount was blocked on payment gateways for failing to deliver goods to customers who paid various platforms for the items, a BB official said.

The concerned government authorities have taken multiple measures following various scandals of dubious e-commerce platforms such as Evaly, E-orange, Dhamaka Shopp-ing, Sirajganj Shop etc.

The cabinet division and the Ministry of Commerce have already formed a powerful committee to discipline the e-commerce sector and solve the problems of the sector.

Senior officials of the affected e-commerce platforms, who are believed to be involved in regularities on behalf of e-commerce with affected customers, are now in jail.

A process is now in the final stages to introduce Unique Business Identification Numbers (UBINs) for e-commerce platforms in the near future.

The government has taken steps to set up a regulatory authority for the country’s e-commerce sector, which experts say offers good prospects if not wasted.

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