Do you know that something you see so commonplace in online sellers selling their wares through social media is actually illegal? No, it’s not just frowned upon, or not something nice to do, but it is against the law and doing so can land the person involved in serious trouble which can include a huge fine and a prison sentence as well! No, it’s not posting a picture of your cat to sell cat food nor hijacking someone else’s post to promote your items (which is a social media faux pax but not illegal) but it is these two simple letters, PM.
No, I’m not referring to our Prime Minister but PM stands for Private Message. A PM is a direct message between two parties only and not shared to all. Now, a PM in itself is not illegal but when it is used to sell items, it can get dicey how it is used. An example of how it looks like is as below:
According to the Consumer Protection Act 1999, retailers are required by law to display:
- The full prices of the goods or services, including taxes and transportation or other costs
- Name of the person operating the business or the company and business name
- Business or company registration number
- E-mail address, telephone number or address of the person running the business
- Description of the main characteristics of the goods or services
- Methods of payment
- Terms and conditions
- Estimated delivery time
Therefore, if the person selling the item only provides a vague description of the product without any pricing or information as above, then he/she can be reported by the general public and the seller if charged, could either be fined up to RM50,000 or face up to three years of jail sentence or both upon conviction. This is very hefty and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) are taking this very seriously as they have received numerous complaints by the public.
These laws are not new as it was implemented in 2013 but the ministry had provided leeway to allow time for online sellers to comply. This does not apply to those selling on online marketplaces platforms like Lazada and Shopee as most of them do comply with the rules and regulations. So please be informed about your rights as buyers and if you do have any concerns, do contact KPDNHEP via:
- Toll-free number — 1 800 886 800 or
- Online e-Aduan system — http://e-aduan.kpdnhep.gov.my/
At CARING MOMS, strict policing is done to ensure that sellers who sell through either the Facebook page and the website follow the guidelines closely and are trained accordingly to ensure the best customer experience and service.