The Internet’s economic uses have increased in marketing uses, with companies selling their products and sales locally and internationally.
But with increasing internet fraud, the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has received many complaints related to fake e-shopping websites.
The CPA is working on developing e-commerce monitoring mechanisms for protecting consumers, through including new articles in the Consumer Protection Act 67/2006, according to CPA head, Atef Yaqoub.
Yaqoub said internet fraud has spread because it is a new kind of shopping to Egypt and there are no rules governing it. To counter fraud online, the CPA is trying to include articles relating to e-commerce.
Yaqoub added that one of these articles stated the right of every consumer to return the product bought via telephone or the internet within three days, even if there is no fault in the product.
“The CPA referred 37-satellite channels and service centres to Public Prosecution, due to advertising about fake maintenance centres appropriating the name of one of the famous brands, Zanussi,” revealed Yaqoub. “These centres alleged that they are authorised agents, but it is not true, and the channels violate Article 6 of the Consumer Protection Act.”
The article committed the contractor and advertised channel or agency to supply the consumer with correct information about the product. It would also avoid creating misleading impressions to the consumer.
Yaqoub confirmed that there are many fake brands misleading the authorised and known service centres to cheat consumers, through hotlines, which give consumer confidence.
In response, the CPA announced Monday some advices and guidance to the consumers when dealing with e-shopping sites.
The CPA issued some instructions when purchasing online, such as ensuring correct data and value of the purchased products. It also recommended logging-in via different sites before making the purchase, where consumers can compare the prices and specifications of each product before buying.
In addition, the CPA cautioned to carefully look over goods’ specs before buying, reading the labelling and finding out about the cost of transport and delivery.
CPA warned consumers against the hotlines, and demanded the Egyptian Telephone Directory (140 online) to filter its database to get rid of the phone numbers of companies that cheat people, according to Yaqoub.
“The directory may facilitate the process of fraud without knowing, for example, if the consumer contacted the directory to ask for a telephone number of Zanussi maintenance centre and the directory also has some number of fake centres under the same name and automatically give the customer the number without making sure of it,” said Yaqoub.
He continued that the Industrial Control Authority (ICA) began tightening the procedures of giving licences to companies and centres
The volume of e-commerce in Egypt was EGP 1.3bn in 2014, and is expected to increase by the end of 2015 to EGP 10bn. Yaqoub added that, by the end of 2016, e-commerce figures are expected to be EGP 17bn.
Research officer at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Nagwa Al-Shenaoui, said that e-commerce represents about 3% of the trade volume in Egypt.