Warning over dodgy online traders

Monday, Mar 26, 2018 10:11

E-commerce websites play a role in quality control and protect customers’ interests. — Photo blog.bizweb.vn

Le Thi Thu Hang from HCM City’s Go Vap District recently ordered a product displayed on an e-commerce marketplace from a supplier that had no e-commerce website.

To save fees paid to the e-commerce marketplace, the supplier contacted her directly and asked her to order from the company instead of through the e-commerce site.

“I was surprised when they wanted to cancel. I asked again a few times and they said if I cancelled or ordered directly from them, I would receive a special discount and get the item earlier,” Hang said. “However, I said no because I know the e-commerce marketplace ensures the quality of items of their suppliers and protects customers,” she added. “After I said no, I received an email that said they had run out of the item.”

E-commerce websites play a role in quality control and protect customers’ interests. If customers deal directly with suppliers, they may face high risks. Many suppliers who trade directly with customers provide low-quality products, an e-commerce expert said.

The advantages of online buying allows customers to easily go through all the steps of the purchase, from placing orders, making payments, choosing the delivery method, and receiving the service or product without going to brick-and-mortar stores. Online trade also helps buyers easily and quickly purchase items that may be unavailable in their local area at cheap prices. However, unreliable online shopping websites exist, sometimes in the form of advertisements. Most of these sellers upload photos of products and include statements that say they will be “available soon”.

Customers have to pay 30 per cent to 70 per cent of the cost upfront to these sellers, and the balance is paid when the items are delivered. In many cases, sellers operate without websites, but when the item is delivered, it is not the one ordered by the customer and the quality could be low but the price high. Or, the product could be damaged. Customers are vulnerable to such sellers because they have nothing but a phone number or name of the seller. They do not know the physical location of the seller and cannot lodge a complaint or ask for another item.

To limit trade without e-commerce websites as well as protect customers’ interests, e-commerce websites should terminate contracts with suppliers who try to trade directly with customers, and hire more customer-care staff to warn buyers about inappropriate sellers, according to a representative of one e-commerce website. — VNS

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