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Tuesday, 20 March 2018 09:42

 

World Consumer Rights Day 15 march 2018

The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is celebrated every on March 15 to pay solidarity with the international consumer. It is a global event that allows us to remind the world about the importance of observing and enforcing consumer rights. This year the global theme for the WCRD 2018 is 'Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer'. The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA) has chosen the theme of 'Consumer Protection in E-Commerce' as this is a major consumer area that needs to be looked into.

E-commerce or online shopping as commonly used by many becomes one of the preferred ways of shopping. Unlike the traditional way of shopping, online shopping does not involve face-to-face communication and brings about many benefits to e-consumers which are the reason why online stores are a booming business today. Malaysia has the highest penetration of online shopping – 67% and therefore it is safe to conclude that Malaysians are now on the trend of buying goods online, moving away from the traditional way of shopping. This estimate is farther expected to grow in the future. While e-commerce brings about many benefits, consumers are also exposed to risks due to the nature of online shopping. E-commerce/online shopping constitutes the largest number of complaints received by the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) with losses amounting to millions.

Following the NCCC Annual Report, for the past 3 years in a row, from year 2014-2016, online shopping complainant has the highest number of complaints with losses amounting to millions. According to the report, some of the major complaints are; issues with delivery - whereby the web vendor fails to live up to his/her promise on product delivery. Scam - While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately there are many consumers being cheated by scammers by setting up a fake website and this has become rampant these days. On daily basis, NCCC has been receiving complaints from the public claiming that they have been cheated by online seller and Refund-Despite being promised that complainant will be refunded within a certain time frame; many consumers are left disappointed as the promised was never honoured. Often consumers have to wait months till they get their refund. In worst case scenario, some complainants do not get back their money and were given empty promises.

There could be many of us have experienced this sort of situation before in some way and are unaware of their rights and thus fail to take necessary steps to prevent it.

Perhaps many of us are also unaware that in 1985, eight basic consumer rights were adopted by the United Nations' Assembly. The 8 fundamental rights are right to basic needs, right to safety, right to be informed, right to choose, and right to be heard, right to redress, right to consumer education and the right to a healthy environment. These eight rights covered not only people’s rights as consumers, but also grew to include basic human necessities, such as food, water, and shelter. However, along with these rights come responsibilities, and consumers must earn these rights, and exercise them wisely.

With the upcoming World Consumer Rights day, FOMCA together with NCCC take this opportunity to continuously tackle online issues and look out for ways to protect consumers on e-commerce platform and demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected.

Shabana Naseer

FOMCA/NCCC

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 September 2018 11:51