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e-commerce companies must deliver products within 5 days: Govt

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The e-commerce companies will have to deliver products to the customers within five days if the payment is taken in advance.

However, the delivery time for faraway districts and rural areas is ten days after the advance payment, said a gazette notification of the government today.

The online merchants will have to hand over the products within 48 hours of the advance payment to delivery services and notify the customers via sms, email or phone calls. In the next 72 hours, the delivery men or companies will supply the items to the clients. For purchase with payment in advance, the e-commerce companies must have the displayed items ready to ship – either in their own stock or with the registered third party.

For essentials, the delivery time will be shorter than five days as the e-commerce platforms will have to specify it to the customers while taking the orders. If an essential item order has multiple products, there will be a uniform delivery charge.

But if the essentials come from different merchants, the e-commerce companies then can charge separate delivery fees. In this case, the customer will have to be notified prior to confirming the order.

If a company fails to comply with the rules, the government will be able to take a number of measures against the defaulter including trade licence cancellation, revoking company registration, banning the online marketplace, and scrapping the value-added tax (VAT) registration.

“Any affected customers can seek legal remedies at the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection,” said Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary to the commerce ministry and also the chief of the government’s central digital commerce cell.

After an inspection of e-commerce company Evaly, a Bangladesh Bank report recently said the platform has a capacity to repay only 16% of the huge liabilities both to its customers and merchants.

Citing the central bank report, The Business Standard ran a news item on 22 June.

There are mounting allegations against some e-commerce ventures including Evaly for neither delivering the products, nor refunding the customers who had cleared the payments in advance.

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