PETALING JAYA: With online shopping booming amid the Covid-19 pandemic, fresh fears have arisen over fake products flooding e-commerce sites.
There have been numerous reports of fake goods being peddled online – from face masks to electronic items to branded clothing throughout the various movement control order (MCO) phases.
Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in May, online retail sales increased by 39.3% compared with the same period last year while in June, sales rose by 35.5%.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said in an attempt to counter the sale of fake items online, 486 items had been removed from online marketplaces and 236 websites taken down since January this year.
“Measures taken by the ministry to combat the sales of counterfeit goods online include cooperation and intelligence sharing with brand owners as to which online platforms are selling fake items.
“We also coordinate with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on enforcement by way of taking down websites or removing counterfeit content from online platforms,” he said in an interview.
“Enforcement is also conducted on physical premises after conducting intelligence and surveillance on online sellers or companies found to be selling fake items online,” he said.
Cooperating with online marketplaces, encouraging brand owners to register for IPP (Intellectual Property Protection) with online marketplace operators and consumer awareness programmes are among other measures taken.
The minister advised buyers to take extra precaution by checking the identity of the account number via the Semak Mule CCID app and by reading testimonies.
“Online sellers must also display the name, company registration number, product details, terms and conditions, price, contact number, method of payment and method of transportation,” he said.
The ministry’s enforcement director, Datuk Iskandar Halim Sulaiman, said besides sellers of counterfeits and pirated goods, property owners who allowed their premises to be used for such activities could also be charged under the Trademarks Act 2019 or the Copyright Act 1987.
Meanwhile, e-commerce marketplaces have assured shoppers of measures taken to create a safe shopping environment.
Shopee regional managing director Ian Ho claimed Shopee Mall had 100% authentic products with a two-times money back guarantee if the product was found to be fake, along with a 15-day free return policy. Its “Preferred Sellers” tag indicates sellers with a high level of service with a shop rating of over 4.7 stars, high chat response rate of more than 90% and their products are 100% authentic.
Ho said Shopee policy was that until buyers confirmed that goods received were genuine, in good
condition and quality, payment to sellers will be held in escrow.
A Lazada official said its Intellectual Property Rights Policy (IPR) ensured that any LazMall seller identified to have listed nonauthentic products or that infringed other brand owners’ rights would be removed.
The official urged customers who came across illegal or fraudulent goods to report them so that its team could investigate.
“Lazada IPR protection programme comprises a robust notice and take-down system, proactive monitoring measures, conducting offline investigations, and providing education for Lazada’s customers and merchants,” the official claimed.
Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) president Shirley Tay said trust was still an issue for e-commerce purchases, especially for big ticket items.
She said customers were more confident and inclined to buy big ticket items from businesses which had physical as well as online stores.
“This is because customer service and technical support are valuable considerations when it comes to such purchases.
“The trend is likely to change in the future but we think customers are still cautious and still prefer to buy from physical retail outlets for big ticket items,” she said.
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