The government is going to launch an app and a website on a pilot basis to manage complaints of customers against various e-commerce platforms, according to the authority concerned.
The digital system, called the Central Complaint Management System (CCMP), is being created by the Access to Information Programme (a2i). It will be operated by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), said officials.
The Ministry of Commerce, the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms, and the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) will also be part of the digital system to settle the customers' complaints.
Amid a flood of complaints against some flawed e-commerce companies, the e-CAB and the a2i have stepped in to build a digital system that will automatically receive and settle the customers' grievances.
Under this initiative, the complaints that cannot be immediately addressed by the e-commerce platforms concerned will be automatically sent to the relevant government agencies.
The customers can complain only against registered e-commerce platforms. There will be a link of every e-commerce site with the platform. The clients can click it and complain.
With access to the relevant data, the customers will also be able to see each company's settlement rate and be more informed before making a purchase.
The mobile application is now ready for operation. Recently, Ekshop, an integrated rural e-commerce platform of the a2i and the ICT Division, organised a demo presentation of the app.
Shahabuddin Shipon, the e-CAB vice president, was present in the demo exhibition.
He said there is a plan to run the app for a few months on pilot basis. If it successfully works, the app and the website will be made fully operational.
"Once a complaint is made by a customer, the CCMP will send a notification to the company concerned. Both the company and the customer will be notified about updates of the complaint. The company will be given seven to ten days to resolve it."
He also said if the company claims that the complaint has been resolved, the platform will verify it from the customer. Once the customer gives a positive nod, the platform will update it as a settled complaint.
However, if the complaint is not resolved, the platform will be notified. After a certain period, the complaint will be flagged, and a warning of breaching rules will be generated. Then, the CCMP will launch a complaint to the DNCRP with the consumer's consent.
Shipon noted that the CCMP will help combat the current challenges of the e-commerce sector, strengthen the DNCRP, cater to complaints in a centralised way, and speed up the process of resolving compliants.
However, the rules for the CCMP are yet to be finalised. The relevant issues, like how many days a seller will get to resolve a complaint, and what are the punishments for the faulted e-commerce platforms, will be finalised following successful run of the pilot CCMP, he added.