Transparent Transition System: Need Of Pakistan : There is need to make technology-based business transactions more transparent, since COVID-19 has enabled mushroom growth in e-commerce in Pakistan and more depositors are conducting business through online banking.
More private and public institutions are encouraging the use of paperless money that is safer as well as tractable. This minimises the chances of fraud. However, the information technology rules are not properly streamlined.
The private sector suppliers selling goods through e-commerce platforms make their own rules that fully safeguard their interests, while in most cases consumer interests are ignored.
Consumers are attracted by the companies through their web pages about some handy to use household products at reasonably low rates. When consumers place the order the courier is asked not to allow the consumer to first inspect the goods supplied.
Instead the buyer has to pay the billed amount before inspecting the contents. In many cases the customers are disappointed when they see that the quality of household item is of inferior or fragile quality (for instance toothpaste dispenser or plastic rack) are inferior and fragile.
They see much better products in the stores at slightly higher prices. Most complain about the inferior quality but the suppliers refuse to take the goods back.
In the same ways some consumers find that a dress that they ordered online from the web catalogue of the supplier is either not the same or the size they ordered was different. In some cases the colour of the dress is different than ordered.
Many known brands accept the complaint and replace the goods, but most choose not to respond. The supply is total loss for the consumer. In countries where e-commerce is in developed stage, the supplier dispatches the goods with money back guarantee. You can return the goods if you are not satisfied with the quality.
In Pakistan, the least that the authorities could do is to make it mandatory that the buyer will have the right to inspect the goods before making payment. If not satisfied the goods could be returned then and there to the courier.
This condition would compel the suppliers to make supplies strictly in accordance with the specifications of their web catalogue. Consumer interest would be fully protected. Only quality suppliers would dare to venture in e-commerce. Sub-standard product suppliers would fade away.
Some e-commerce gateways have enhanced their reputation by collecting goods as per specifications from different suppliers and parcel to the consumers from their platform. But such e-commerce platforms can be counted on fingers.
Each e-commerce platform should be reliable and consumer friendly. They should not cheat the consumers. Banks are the pioneers of information technology based service in Pakistan. The Automated Teller Machines have replaced cash counters in banks.
Moreover, the ATM outlets are available 24/7 in large numbers. However, in case of any glitch like the ATM accepting command for payment but not dispensing the money creates a lot of problems for the consumers.
It takes up to 15 days to get back the vanished amount. It looks strange as when ATM machine of any bank can immediately inform the bank of the ATM user of the amount withdrawn why can’t it point out the failure to make the payment in one day or maximum two days?
Many poor consumers suffer badly when they are a victim of this malfunction. They fail to pay the monthly fee of their children or clear the hospital bill. Another problem customers face is when the ATM machine of their bank is out of order and they have to go to another bank for which they have to pay Rs18 per transaction.
If they want to withdraw over Rs20,000 they have to do so in two transactions, doubling the charges.
Yet another drawback is that when using the ATM of another bank, after accepting their request if the machine is unable to dispense money due to any technical reason, the transaction charges are again charged. This system is unfair.
This is not all, there are some old customers who are not able to get their thumb impression verified biometrically in the first attempt. When they finally get themselves biometrically verified, they are able to use the ATM in other banks, but the ATMs of banks where they are account holders refuse to accept the order.
Finally, in online banking at times, when consumers pay their bill, the bank debits the amount, but the service provider does not receive it due to some technical glitch.
It takes more than two months to get back that amount. Technical glitch is understandable, but delay in refund of the amount is not. The banks should upgrade their software not only to safeguard their interest but that of customers as well.
Originally published at The news international