ISLAMABAD: With the inception of modern technology in Pakistan, e-commerce has boomed in the country within a short span of time, but unprofessional and fraudulent online traders are driving the industry to its early grave, posing a threat to its growth.
The customers are blaming the online vendors for providing low-quality articles, including clothes, electronic gadgets, jewellery, mobile phones and other daily use items, instead of delivering the actual ordered/selected items.
They said several online shopping websites are outwitting the consumers, who opted this way of shopping to save their time and money, after being attracted by the quality display of the articles on their websites.
“For several months, the people were being cheated with the deliverance of sub-standard and poor quality articles by these online traders, but now their style of betrayal is shifting as juices and milk packs are being delivered instead of the chosen item,” Jawad Ali Shah, a consumer from the federal capital, told APP.
Pointing out a scam of Daraz.pk, one of the leading online shopping websites, he said he ordered a cell phone from Daraz worth Rs34,000 last month but received a milk pack instead of the selected handset.
“It (milk packet) was in Daraz flyer and my name, order info, exact amount and address were written on it. At first, I thought it happened mistakenly but when I visited the customer care centre of the company, its official told me that Daraz has already received more than five complaints of the same kind.
“The official told me that a hotel manager was also given a juice pack instead of his Rs100,000 mobile phone.”
Jawad’s agony does not end here as he still awaits a positive response despite the initiation of an inquiry by Daraz. He also accused the company of leaking the consumers’ information.
Naeem Khan, who took to social networking site to highlight the online vendors’ scam, said he ordered a shifter helmet of LS2 brand from Daraz.pk but he was delivered a third class AMD helmet.
“When I complained about the incident to Daraz, they told me that action will be taken against the culprit. But the fact is that I have lost my money which I had saved to buy my desired helmet,” he said. “Why should we suffer for the fraud done by the delivery boy at the Daraz’s flawed system?” he asked.
Another e-consumer, Shadab Haider, said the majority of online traders are just selling illusions as the customers are not being offered the promised items. He said several traders did not return the cash despite the filing of complaints.
Daraz.pk’s Islamabad field supervisor admitted that such kinds of complaints were received by his office during the last month.
He said his office is timely forwarding the complaints to the head office, adding that the majority of cases are reported from Rawalpindi.
He Daraz official claimed his company is providing appropriate compensation to the victims.
To a query, he said he could not respond to a question which he was not supposed to reply.
When contacted the head office of Daraz.pk, Karachi, they declined to comment on the matter.
Muddasir Hussain, an IT expert, closely associated with top policymakers, said earlier, the e-commerce industry was lacking a single regulatory structure, but the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) has formulated a concept paper to evolve comprehensive legislation for regulating online businesses.
He said the IT ministry had handed over that paper to the Ministry of Commerce a couple of years ago for further action. The commerce ministry had formed working groups on the regulatory framework to ensure online consumer protection, he added.
Hussain said different stakeholders were jointly working in this regard and soon this online industry would be having a comprehensive framework.