E-commerce shops get a taste of their own medicine as advances made by customers are now stuck in the manual payment gateway system even after products have been delivered
Several e-commerce shops are now unable to access the advances paid by buyers even after delivering products as the money is stuck with the payment gateways, according to the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB).
Shahab Uddin, vice-president of e-CAB, said many e-commerce platforms have made verbal complaints to the association and one has submitted a written complaint.
“Even a few months after delivery, they [the online shop] have not received the money. We have informed this to the Bangladesh Bank,” he added.
“We want the system to be automated quickly so that the companies can get the money in the fastest possible time after the customers receive the product,” he further said, adding the e-commerce platforms also have to pay suppliers.
A manual system for confirming deliveries by payment gateways has been introduced to protect online customers as the e-commerce industry in Bangladesh has been mired in allegations of fraud, irregularities and embezzlement in recent months.
Serajul Islam, spokesperson and executive director of the Bangladesh Bank, said there has been a delay due to these new regulations.
“But this is the guideline, so money cannot be paid until deliveries have been confirmed,” he added.
In this case, the Ministry of Commerce and the payment gateway services can think of updating and modernizing the system, he said, adding that the Bangladesh Bank is thinking of automating the process on their behalf.
An official of Alesha Mart said they are not against the manual confirmation system, but would like it to be faster.
“We have a lot of money stuck with the payment gateway. Despite repeated pleas to them, we still have not received the money,” he said.
An official of payment gateway SSLCOMMERZ told Dhaka Tribune that this delay has been caused by a lack of automation.
“We have to confirm the deliveries by phone calls and text, which often go unanswered by the customers,” the official added, wishing to remain anonymous.
“As a result, we cannot hand over the money. earlier we used to send the money to the companies even before delivery, but that has led to complaints. So, we have to be sure from now on,” the official further said.
The official also suggested a solution to this: “I think that by sending a one-time password [OTP] to payment gateways once the product is delivered, or some kind of information-sharing system with the courier services could speed up this process.”