‘PM for details’ as a selling tactic is illegal

The law compels sellers to display all the necessary details consumers should know for them to make an informed decision before making a transaction. — Reuters pic
The law compels sellers to display all the necessary details consumers should know for them to make an informed decision before making a transaction. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) stressed that the existing law makes it illegal for online traders to ask buyers to “PM for details”. This is to ensure consumers’ rights are better protected. In various cases, the online sellers were asking potential buyers to PM (private message) them before giving prices and details of the products.

Azman Adam, the chief enforcement officer of KPDNHEP Selangor division, said that the law compels sellers to display all the necessary details consumers should know for them to make an informed decision before making a transaction. Azman added that the enforcers from KPDNHEP will take action upon sellers who failed to display products’ specifications online before finalising transactions with buyers.

KPDNHEP has received many complaints from consumers, mostly against online sellers from social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. Last year, a total of 1,195 complaints involving online shopping were received and this year there were already 194 complaints recorded. The complaints mostly cite online traders asking buyers to “PM for details” and the details will only be given via private message. Besides, there were also a lot of cases where the prices of goods were not displayed, or goods weren’t received on time or as advertised.

According to the Consumer Protection Act 1999, online businesses are required to display:

  1. The full prices of the goods or services, including the taxes and transportation or other costs;
  2. Name of the person operating the business or the company and business name;
  3. Business or company registration number;
  4. Email address, telephone number or address of the person running the business;
  5. Description of the main characteristics of the goods or services;
  6. Methods of payment;
  7. Terms and conditions; and,
  8. Estimated delivery time.

If the sellers are unable to follow these requirements, they could either be fined up to RM50,000 or face up to three years of jail sentence or both upon conviction.

Azman cited one recent case under Section 145 of the Consumer Protection Act 1999 in which an online furniture company failed to adhere to the requirements. The company did not display the prices and specifications of its furniture sold online — it was asking prospective buyers to PM for price and details instead. The numerous complaints received against the company led to KPDNHEP’s raid at its premises in Seri Kembangan.

For consumers who encounter online businesses not adhering to the requirement and wish to file a complaint against the company, you may contact KPDNHEP via:

*This article was brought to you by RinggitPlus.com.

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