KUALA LUMPUR – June 7, 2017: The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) is hoping for amendments to laws on e-commerce to protect online shoppers against the growing trend of shopping scams.
The group considers existing laws to be outdated as they do not cover frauds by illegitimate online sellers with fake accounts and also against online classified websites.
Its deputy president Mohd. Yusof Abdul Rahman said scammers are taking advantage of the anonymous component of the Internet to cheat shoppers.
“The laws that we have, the likes of Contracts Act and Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transactions) Regulations, are insufficient to deal with these shopping scams.
“The Contracts Act merely covers deals or contracts between sellers and buyers. The latter only deals with the transmission of funds online, requiring sellers and online marketplace operators to disclose company details to consumers.
“But the complaints that we have received over the past two years involved bogus sellers with fake Instagram and Mudah.my accounts and deceiving advertisements.
“They tricked shoppers by not delivering the advertised products even after transactions were made.”
In this regards, scammers can get off scot-free simply by deactivating their accounts.
Yusof was commenting on the increasing number of online shopping victims as recorded by the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) Report 2015.
NCCC, which is an initiative of Fomca since 2004, recorded 7,692 complaints in 2015, which was an increase from 7,641 the previous year.
Yusof also suggested that online shoppers opt for the cash-on-delivery shopping approach, which involves a safer mode of purchase or payment.
A quick check by The Mole found that the Consumer Guide to Conducting Electronic Transactions is made available online by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK).
It offers important tips for online shoppers to run a quick check before each transaction.
For instance, one should compare the prices of products with current market prices and observe the authenticity of each online shopping website or seller account in social media prior to purchase.
Attempts to get comments from KPDNKK on the enforcement of e-commerce laws were unsuccessful.