The Directorate of National Consumers' Right Protection (DNCRP) has thus far received more than 13,000 complaints against e-commerce companies in the country and settled about 10,000 of them, said Bablu Kumar Saha, director general of the organisation.
"E-commerce has been gaining popularity in the country for the last three to four years. It has reached its peak amid the pandemic. The number of affected consumers has also increased during this time.
"We are resolving the consumers' complaints seriously," the DNCRP director general further said while addressing the district and upazila level representative conference of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) on Sunday.
The conference is being conducted to infuse greater dynamism into CAB's activities in order to uphold consumers' rights.
According to Bablu Kumar Saha, the department's officers are running 70-80 campaigns per day around the country to protect consumers' rights.
"But these drives will not do, if consumers are not aware of their rights. Consumers have started panic-buying after the declaration of the strict lockdown. That's not right," he said.
"Not only does the customer need to be aware of the campaign, but they also need to be aware of their own rights," said Saha.
Md Mofizul Islam, chairman of the Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC), told the event that if a consumer is informed of his rights and the market is competitive, it is possible to obtain products and services at a 23% lower price.
"To create a competitive situation in the market of goods and services, all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain have to be brought under the rules. The competition commission is working on this. How the product will be priced depends entirely on the behaviour of consumers and traders," he argued.
Speaking as the chief guest at the event, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said, "The commerce ministry will discuss the issue of setting up two separate divisions – Consumer Affairs and Business Affairs.
"The government is continuously working on consumer rights. However, the agencies working under the Ministry of Commerce have a lot more work to do. We have to go a long way to establish the rights of the consumers."
"Prices of fuel oil often fluctuate. CAB has demanded the formation of a fund for price adjustment. Creating such a fund will reduce the pressure on the consumer."
Mentioning that around 77% of people in the country have suffered income loss due to the Covid-19, he said it is possible to protect the rights of the consumers only if everyone works together during this global crisis.
Syed Rahman, editor of Consumer Voice, gave details about the activities of CAB.