Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB)

Letters to refund customers of e-commerce companies without lawsuits

Consumer Voice Desk: The Ministry of Commerce has sent a letter to Bangladesh Bank to expedite the refund of money stashed away by e-commerce companies against payment gateway companies. The letter was sent from the Commerce Ministry’s Digital Commerce Cell on Tuesday, sources said.

On June 30, the Ministry of Commerce issued e-commerce guidelines. It has been said that the seller will get the money after the customer understands the product. However, it is not clear how the money will be returned to the buyer if the seller does not deliver the product. Though there is talk of launching an escrow service, it has not been launched yet. As a result, the money of many customers of different organizations is stuck with the payment gateway organization. It is learned that from June 30 till last October, Tk 214 crore has been stuck with the payment gateway companies. A large portion of the money was requested by the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit to be frozen by the police intelligence department.

The Commerce Ministry requested the CID through the Home Ministry to release the money. Besides, the law ministry has also taken an opinion. The Ministry of Commerce has sent a letter to the Central Bank after receiving positive feedback from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law. However, the letter said that it has been decided to return the money to the customers of the companies whose names have not been sued. As a result, the customers of such companies have to inform the Ministry of Commerce by returning the money as soon as possible.

After inquiring about this in Bangladesh Bank, a senior official of the concerned department said that the instructions of the Ministry of Commerce have not reached the Central Bank till yesterday. Payment gateway companies will be instructed to take necessary steps in case of such instructions. The official said it would not take long for the customers to return the money.