A series of anomalies has finally prompted the e-commerce apex trade body to penalize their errant members, as some buyers complained being cheated and tax intelligence found VAT evasion by a few.
E-cab, the association of 1600 members, has suspended the membership of four e-commerce companies and served show-cause notices against a dozen more following allegations of consumer cheating.
The suspended members were named e-orange Ltd, 24tkt.com, Greenbangla e-commerce Limited and Excellent World Agro-Food and Consumers Ltd.
Of the total 16 e-commerce businesses under the scanner, allegations against three are not that much serious while one has resolved it through the satisfactory answer, e-cab sources said.
Nine other companies under scrutiny are e-valy.com Ltd, Gliters RST World, Anex Worldwide Ltd, Amar Bazar Ltd, Alesha Mart, Falguni shop.com, Dhamaka Shopping, Adian Mart, and Sirajganj Shop.
Jahangir Alam Shovon, general manager of e-cab, said the association suspended memberships after it had detected irregularities in their operations.
"On August 21, we suspended the membership of 'e-orange' following allegations from consumers, non-compliance with the digital commerce guidelines, and lack of ownership information after changing it," he said.
Allegations galore against e-commerce businesses in recent times, including against e-orange, e-Valy, and Alisha Mart. Different government agencies are working on finding out alleged wrongdoings.
Meanwhile, the e-cab, in a statement on Thursday, said nine out of the 16 e-commerce businesses had responded to the notices either denying the allegations or seeking time to comply with the digital guidelines of the government.
"Those nine companies are under supervision of the association for further scrutiny. The association may suspend their membership, too, in case of not finding any satisfactory solution," says the statement signed by association President Shomi Kaiser and General Secretary Abdul Wahed Tomal.
The allegations against the companies are financial embezzlement, not resolving consumers or sellers' allegations, not responding to the e-cab showcase or warning notices, not resolving the e-cab allegations, not complying with the 'Digital Commerce Guideline-2021', and running MLM businesses etc.
The e-cab called upon the consumers to be cautious on abnormal offers by e-commerce businesses and not to purchase from those not complying with the digital commerce guidelines.
It urged the consumers to lodge complaints with the Directorate for Consumer Rights Protection if they feel cheated by any e-commerce businesses.
The association has already urged all its members to go by proper business rules and protect consumers' interests in doing the newfound trade.
It has requested them to stop making abnormal offer, deliver products timely, not to receive money through bank deposit and follow existing rules of the game.
The e-cab warned it would be forced to take legal action in case of "propaganda against the association with fake and fabricated information".
Meanwhile, VAT intelligence has detected evasions worth Tk 1.3 million by the online-shopping-company e-Orange through concealment of actual sales information.
In a raid on its Gulshan office, the VAT audit, intelligence and investigation wing under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) detected the "evasion", said a statement.
It filed a case under the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 against the company after the wing had found evidences of VAT evasion.
It has been alleged that the organization, located at Gulshan-1 in the city, having BIN-003628027-0101, refrained from depositing proper VAT on the commission derived from sales of products through online platform.
On June 8, 2021, a VAT-intelligence team, led by deputy director Tanvir Ahmed, swooped on the organization following "specific allegation of tax evasion".
The team confiscated the accounts documents that showed the company had paid Tk 0.6 million as VAT against its payable Tk 1.9 million.
In a specific term, the company has purchased products worth Tk 2.45 billion and sold products worth Tk 2.49 billion. It has received commission worth Tk 3.8 million, and VAT at a rate of 5.0 per cent is applicable to the amount.
"The company has concealed actual sales information," says the intelligence report. The VAT intelligence has handed over the case to Dhaka north) VAT zone for realization of the evaded money and next legal action.
Despite several attempts, spokesperson for e-Orange could not be reached for their comments.