The Bangladesh Bank will introduce an escrow service so that online shoppers can cancel purchase orders at any time after ordering a product by paying the price in advance, and get a refund.
Payment gateways like banks will refund the money to the account through which the buyer using debit card, credit card or mobile financial services will pay for an online purchase, said Md Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and the head of the e-commerce cell.
He said, "A letter has been sent to the Bangladesh Bank on Sunday to issue a circular to the payment gateway companies to withhold the advance payment of customers for online shopping until the goods are delivered."
The development came on the heels of a report published on 22 June by The Business Standard based on the central bank's report on Evaly.
Under the new rules, the payment gateway banks and financial institutions will keep the buyer's advance payment to themselves. After the e-commerce company delivers the goods and submits the delivery document signed by the buyer to the payment gateway, the price of the goods will be transferred to the account of the e-commerce company.
Asked how long a buyer will wait for the delivery of a product after paying the price in advance to claim a refund, Hafizur Rahman said a buyer can cancel the order at any time and get a refund.
A buyer can even cancel an order within two days of placing the order, if they want to take a refund, he added. "Again a buyer can wait for a longer period if they want."
He said the payment gateways will refund buyers whenever they cancel orders and seek a refund before the product is delivered. Cancelling an order or getting a refund will not depend on the will of e-commerce companies, he added.
Mejbaul Haque, general manager of the Bangladesh Bank's Payment Systems Department, told TBS on Thursday that if they receive a letter from the commerce ministry on Sunday, they will be able to issue a circular to payment gateway operators by the end of the week to manage the transactions of e-commerce companies.
According to data provided by the Bangladesh Bank, IT Consultant Limited, SSL Commerce Limited, Surjomukhi Limited, Pragati System Limited and Portonics Limited Payment System Operator (PSO) and Dutch-Bangla Bank, BRAC Bank, Eastern Bank, Southeast Bank, Prime Bank and City Bank are currently providing gateway services in the country.