KPDNHEP likely to re-evaluate Act to address online shopping scams

We want to be efficient, while being holistic with our laws, according to minister


THE Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) is expected to re-evaluate the Consumer Protection Act 1999 to tighten the reins on online shopping scammers.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the current laws surrounding consumer protection do exist, but are evidently not enough to address the issues.

“I have asked the ministry’s officers, as well as legal advisors to re-examine the existing clauses on consumer protection, but I am aware that is not enough.

“Therefore, I am asking industry players to appeal to us based on their experiences to help the ministry,” he said at the Shopee Chinese New Year (CNY) campaign luncheon yesterday.

He said the main focus is to address online shopping scams, with cases that are more visible among individual sellers who are not established under online shopping platforms.

“We understand that the platforms’ reputation would be damaged should their merchants compromise their products, so we know that the difficulty is mostly when dealing with independent sellers,” he said.

Saifuddin said via the Tribunal for Consumer Claims Malaysia, the highest number of scams involve consumers not receiving the items they purchased.

“This is followed by sellers sending a different item from the one they advertised to the consumer, and also one where the buyer purchases an item in its full price, expecting a new item, but receives a secondhand product instead,” he said.

He added that the scammers trend has been increasing at an “alarmingly extraordinary” rate, much like the online shopping trend that paved the way for convenience.

“This is why I want to address the issues via a re-examination of the laws as soon as possible, but at the same time, I don’t want to rush it. We want to be efficient, while being holistic with our laws on consumer protection,” he said.

Saifuddin said there is no exact timeline for the re-evaluation, but hopes that industry players will appeal to the ministry to help quicken the pace.

The last amendment made for consumer protection in 2017 was to give buyers under credit sale agreements a 10-day period to decide on moving ahead with the deal.

Shopee Malaysia business head Zed Li said the increase in online shopping complaints reflects the growth of the e-commerce industry.

“Rest assured, we are working really closely with the ministry to ensure the success of the industry in both growth and safety,” he said.

Meanwhile, the e-commerce platform has had a few things established, such as having reached out to East Malaysians last year.

“We are having a few infrastructure adjustments such as warehouses and delivery services to put in place, and thus address the issues that have impeded the industry from booming completely in Malaysia,” he said.

Seven brands — namely MSI, Logitech, Etude House, Crocs, ELLE, Anmum and World of Sports — have launched their shops on Shopee yesterday, following the platform’s CNY campaign launch which will be on-going until Feb 6, 2019.

The mobile application expects a similar trend to the previous year, which showed a 32% boost in traffic, backed by its various campaign features, including its new CNY Live Quiz.

To date, Shopee has a customer base of 16 million users and was among the platforms to have driven a 15-fold increase in Malaysian orders during the “Double 12” sales last year, alongside Lazada and Taobao.

Shoppee is owned by Singapore-based company Sea Ltd, which posted US$242.8 million (RM994.48 million) in adjusted revenue for its third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018.