For the last few months, stories after stories are breaking about theft and fraud by digital platforms. It's unusual considering the country is trying to brand itself "Digital Bangladesh" but coming across digital theft so frequently. These consumer goods selling online super shops have managed to milk millions from the public and stolen crores in the process. They range from the big players like E-valy, Orange, Dhamaka etc and others to many small players who steal and disappear and the media doesn’t even get to hear about them. It’s not a crisis going by the regulators and law enforcers to whom few things in life are a problem but the consuming public who find they are left without any protection.
Cheating by digital online shops is not uncommon globally. However, regulations to protect the client from such elements are also common. These protections are at several levels from the technological to the legal to market operational guidelines.
In the case of Bangladesh, none seem to be present. Just about anyone is allowed to enter the market, start a business, do as they wish, offer any sorts of discounts and after gathering money leave the building. It’s become so common that barring a few top flight names with track records like Chaldal and Daraz , others are looked upon with suspicion.
Bangladesh business structure is crime friendly
The problem is structural in Bangladesh. While in countries where such operations function, the business structure is driven by market rules which tries to prevent theft before it’s committed. But the basics remain the same which is profit making based on market performance, satisfaction of clients and protection of the consumer. However, in the case of Bangladesh, the odds are that it will be hyper profit based and clients are left at the mercy of the scammers. And the scammers rarely suffer, it’s the consumer that does.
The reason is, no scammers are punished because the system is not geared towards their restraint. The business model unfortunately favours the scammers so heavily that nothing has developed as protection tools for the clients.
The best example of this is P.K. Haldar, who ripped off millions of depositors' savings from not one but four leasing companies. As events and facts have shown, almost everyone in the financial system was involved and Haldar’s scam had gone on for years without any opposition by the system. He took advantage of the system because he knew that it meant facilitating crime and getting away if one can. It’s not meant for client protection. Sadly and scarily that is the dominant model.
One really can’t say that the future looks good for digital economies. None of the outfits have performed well so perhaps any protection must be self-protection and online groceries may be fine but for the rest for the moment it’s best to buy from street shops. Safer.