More than 11.48% customers of the e-commerce sector were deceived last year from various e-commerce and Facebook commerce (f-commerce) websites.
The number was previously 7.44% in 2019.
The information was revealed in the annual research report of Cyber Crime Awareness Foundation (CCA Foundation), a volunteer cyber security awareness organization, titled “Cyber Crime Trend in Bangladesh 2020” which was published on Friday.
The report said that cybercrime also increased in line with the surge in use of IT in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the help of IT, people are buying their daily necessities at home. But some unscrupulous entrepreneurs running their outfits based only on Facebook are taking advantage of it, the report also said.
According to the report, consumers are being deceived in many ways, including not delivering products on time, delivering substandard or counterfeit products, and in some cases, disappearing altogether after taking advance payment.
The research also found that the highest percentage of deceived customers was between 18 and 30 years of age, while 0.92% was under 18.
The report also said that men are more likely to be deceived when shopping online.
Among the cheated customers (11.48%), 7.38% of the victims were men and 4.1% women, the report found.
Experts said that after seeing the increasing demand of online shopping, a number of dishonest and f-commerce outlets are deceiving their customers.
The majority of complaints against them were delivering subpar products despite showing photographs of quality products in their Facebook pages, as well as blocking victims who paid in advance for their products.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Mohammad Sahab Uddin, vice president of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), said that customers have been more inclined to buy products online than physically during the pandemic.
Customers in general seldom get a chance to justify whether the Facebook pages are authentic or not, he also said.
“In this context, we are currently working with the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection to prevent this. We are also working with the Commerce Ministry to implement standard operating procedures through which newcomers to the sector can be brought under a policy,” he added.
Asking about the crime of online shopping, Muhammad Abdul Wahed Tamal, general secretary of e-CAB, told Dhaka Tribune that a number of people have started e-commerce business during the pandemic.
“Many are doing business without following rules and regulations. A large number of them do not even have a trade licence. They just take orders for non-existent products after opening an f-commerce page on Facebook. There are also many courier companies operating without license,” he added.
He also said that they will establish good governance and set up policy in this sector. There are more than 500,000 entrepreneurs but only 1500 are members of e-CAB, so it is very difficult to monitor them.
Marufa Akter Shorna, an f-commerce entrepreneur and owner of Colour Craze, said that for these unscrupulous entrepreneurs, those who are real and passionate entrepreneurs are suffering.
She suggested entrepreneurs to work with sincerity, honesty and build trust of customers and requested the authority to introduce proper law and policy to pull the reins of dishonest traders.
Ashmita Rafique, owner of AR Jewellery, said that there are scammers everywhere. Customers have to be more careful while ordering. They need to be able to figure out the authenticity of a business. Customers have to be careful while buying and page owners have to be patient and show their authenticity.
According to e-CAB, during the pandemic period, the growth of the e-commerce sector has been 70-80%. In the last eight months, they have had a transaction of Tk16,000 crore and they are getting more than 160,000 deliveries every day.