Published: Wednesday February 20, 2013 MYT 5:18:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday February 20, 2013 MYT 5:49:08 PM
New regulations to protect online shoppers to be implemented from July 1
By JOSEPH SIPALAN
PUTRAJAYA: New regulations to protect the growing number of online shoppers will be implemented from July 1 and cheating merchants will face heavier jail terms and fines.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Wednesday that more than 1.1mil Malaysians spent some RM1.8bil in various online transactions in 2010, and the value was expected to nearly triple to RM5bil next year.
“Of the 1.1 mil online shoppers, 67% of them are aged between 15 and 39 years. In the next 10 years, this group will mature and continue to use the internet, and a new group will also follow.
“This segment is growing... that is why the ministry is of the view that if regulations remain loose, more cheating will happen,” he said when announcing the implementation of the new regulations at a press conference here on Wednesday.
Police figures showed a total of 1,879 online cheating cases in 2011, compared to 551 in 2009.
Online cheating cases heard by the Consumer Claims Tribunal also nearly doubled from 18 cases in 2009 to 32 cases in 2012.
Ismail Sabri noted that before the new regulations were gazetted, there had not been any comprehensive protection for online consumers in the country.
Under the new Consumer Protection Regulations (Online Commerce Transactions) 2012 - which was gazetted on Dec 21 last year - merchants must clearly state the name of the person, business or company providing the product or service online, including the business or company registration number.
E-traders will also have to display their email, phone number and business address, key features of the product or service offered, the full price (including delivery other costs incurred), payment methods, terms and conditions and the estimated delivery time.
Using provisions under the Consumer Protection Act 1999, individuals found guilty of flouting the regulations face a fine of not more than RM50,000, a maximum three years jail or both for the first offence.
The maximum penalty increases to a RM100,000 fine or five years jail or both for subsequent offences.
Companies or enterprises meanwhile face a maximum fine of RM100,000 for the first offence, and the quantum doubles to RM200,000 for subsequent offences.
“Offenders could also face compounds of not more than 50% of the maximum fines,” Ismail Sabri added.
In conjunction with the new regulations, the ministry has also come up with e-commerce guidelines for consumers to avoid getting cheated.
The guidelines are expected to be up on the ministry's website at www.kpdnkk.gov.my from Wednesday.