Consumer Rights Protection Agency: A Fifth of Complaints Were Unresolved in the Last Fiscal Year

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Abdul Hakim, a businessman from Kaliakair upazila of Gazipur district, had prepaid several products from Evercare Agro Food and Beverage Ltd in January but upon receipt of the goods, he immediately informed the company that they were damaged.

Seeing that the case remained unresolved, Hakim then filed a complaint with the National Directorate for the Protection of Consumer Rights (DNCRP) in mid-June but to no avail.

Another case is that of Afroza Akhter, a resident of Uttara district of the capital, who ordered three motorbikes from Dhamaka Shopping in June 2021 by paying around Tk 4 lakh in advance.

Akhter has yet to receive delivery even though the e-commerce platform promised the bikes would be delivered within 45 working days. She therefore also filed a complaint with the DNCRP.

But like Hakim, his case remains unsolved to this day.

According to data from the DNCRP, the national consumer rights body received a total of 14,654 complaints in the 2021-2022 financial year.

Of these complaints, 11,541 cases have been resolved while the remaining 3,113, or about 21%, have yet to be resolved.

Similarly, 14,910 complaints were received during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, while 11,623 cases were resolved. Thus, 3,287, or 22%, of files are still open.

Hakim had originally paid Tk 40,000 in advance for his products, but after complaining that they were damaged, Evercare Agro Good and Beverage took an additional Tk 38,000 in February on a promise to provide better products.

After the second set of products arrived, he saw that these were also damaged and again informed the company, which demanded an additional 25,000 Tk.

But despite these multiple payments, Hakim has yet to receive the correct products or a refund.

Hakim then complained to the DNCRP and a hearing was later called last week, but no one from Evercare Agro Food and Beverage was present.

The Daily Star attempted to contact Evercare Agro Food and Beverage for comment regarding the issue, but the company did not respond by the time this report was filed.

A DNCRP official said letters had been sent to company officials asking them to appear at the hearing.

“If they don’t show up at the next hearing, the organization will be raided,” he added.

Mohammad Hasanuzzaman, Deputy Director of Complaints at the DNCRP, said the main reason why complaints have remained unresolved over the past fiscal year is that they could not find the person or entity against whom the complaint was filed. been filed.

In the 2021-22 fiscal year, accused individuals and establishments across the country were fined for a variety of offenses including adulterated products, false advertising, weight manipulation and more.

AHM Shafiquzzaman, director general of the DNCRP, said they were trying to resolve the complaints with due diligence.

SM Nazer Hossain, vice president of the Bangladesh Consumers Association, said some complaints remain unresolved every year.

“That’s why some agency laws need to be changed and moreover, we are facing a labor shortage,” he added.

Hossain went on to say that the number of complaints is increasing every year, but that’s a positive sign because it means consumer awareness has improved.

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