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The One Illegal Thing Most Malaysian Online Sellers Make The Mistake Of Doing

If you have an online shop in Malaysia, read this.

That includes all online stores, even the ones on marketplace platforms like Shopee, Lazada, Facebook, 11street and so on. This affects all ecommerce merchants. 

Most online sellers have done this before. And you’ve definitely seen it online before.

Have you guessed what it is yet? 

It’s the dreaded “PM tepi” phrase!

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 Go on Facebook now and you’ll find many online sellers who don’t display their prices and sometimes even details of the products they sell.

Interested customers are asked to send them a private message (PM) to get more information on the product/service sold.

This practice is rampant in Malaysia’s online selling scene.

But did you know that not showing the price and info of your product/service is actually illegal?

This also doesn’t give your customers a good shopping experience, because you’re adding another layer for them to go through to make their purchase.

So, why is “PM tepi” illegal?

online shopping using laptop

It all comes down to better consumer rights protection.

This was supported by Datuk Mohd Roslan Mahayudin, the Enforcement Director of the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC), in an article by the New Straits Times back in August 2017:

“We are fully enforcing this law after having relaxed on this to allow traders to adjust accordingly,” Roslan said.

“We want consumers to be better covered… Their rights must be protected, and they must be able to make informed purchasing decision with details on prices, the products and services, who they are dealing with and hidden charges at their fingertips.

“So, if a person is selling a cat, for example, he must display the price he wants for it… He cannot simply say ‘private message if interested’… Not any more.”

This all started back in 1977 when the Price Control Order (Indication of Price by Retailer) was introduced with requirement for price tagging. The legislation was later replaced by the Price Control Order (Indication of Price by Retailer) in 1993. It covers all types of goods sold in retail.

Then as ecommerce starting booming in the 2010s and online fraud cases increased, the Malaysian government introduced the Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transactions) Regulations 2012 (“Regulation”), a regulation under the Consumer Protection Act 1999. This regulation is used to curb errant online sellers and to protect consumers who shop online.

What information should online sellers display to customers?

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Under the Consumer Protection Act 1999, online sellers are required to clearly display the following information of their product/service on their site: 

  1. Full price of the products/services
  2. Business owner name
  3. Business or company registration number
  4. Contact information of person running the business (email, phone number, or address)
  5. Product description
  6. Payment method
  7. Terms and conditions
  8. Estimated delivery time

What are the penalties of omitting product details online?

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You can be fined or jailed if you do not abide by the Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transactions) Regulations 2012 (“Regulation”). Here are the penalties for individual online sellers and companies selling online:

First time offence (Individual)

  • Up to RM50,000 fine or 3 years jail or both

Second or subsequent offence (Individual)

  • Up to RM100,000 fine or 5 years jail or both

First time offence (Company)

  • Up to RM100,000 fine

Second or subsequent offence (Company)

  • Up to RM200,000 fine

 A fine of up to RM1,000 will be imposed on any person or company each day the offence continues after the conviction.

That’s pretty heavy stuff, huh?

So remember, be careful and ensure that you’re display all the required information on your online store.

Don’t ask your customers to PM you for more information. That decreases your customer experience, which also decreases your sales potential.

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