Sat, 3 Jun 2023



Customers want cash refund not credits or vouchers
Published on: Sunday, December 19, 2021
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IT was reported that a man had taken an airline company to court because the airline had refused to give him a cash refund when his flight was cancelled, but instead offered ticket credits for future trips.

He won his case against the airline. Although his case has set a legal precedent, this unethical business practice is pervasive in Malaysia.

Instead of refunding customers the money they are owed, some online companies offer store credits when they are unable to fulfil the order or when defective products are returned to the seller.

Recently, I bought a smartphone battery on an e-commerce platform.

When it arrived, I found that the replacement battery was not genuine and could not even fit into my phone.

After a lengthy dispute with the online seller, I was instructed to return the battery to the seller.

However, I was told that I would not be given a cash or cheque refund.

Instead, the online company told me that it would credit my “wallet” with the money that I was owed.

I said I could not activate the wallet since my phone was not working because its seller had sent me a fake battery that could not fit the phone.

I asked for a cheque to be sent to me for the money owed, but instead, the company gave me a voucher to use on its website.

I could take the online company to court, and because of the new legal precedent set by the above case, I would win my suit.

But I also do not wish to waste the court’s and my time over RM30. However, isn’t this is what online companies are counting on?

Imagine if companies have a thousand customers like me in one year.

Let’s imagine this scenario: you go to a handphone shop in a mall to buy an expensive phone.

The storekeeper tells you that he has the phone you want, but you need to pay him first before he gets it out from the storeroom.

You pay him and when he returns, you find that the phone he is selling is fake or he tells you that he was mistaken and that he does not have the phone in stock.

Naturally, you ask him to return your money, but he tells you that he cannot do so.

Instead, he offers you store credits to buy other things in his shop. Would you find that acceptable? This is what online companies in Malaysia are doing.

I hope that the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry can tell these companies that what they are doing is illegal and that they can be prosecuted under the law.

The ministry should impose a punitive fine on these companies every time they refuse to give a cash or cheque refund for goods and services that they cannot render.

If they have to pay a RM10,000 fine each time they refuse to give a cash refund of RM30 to their customers, then I think they will realise the error of their ways. 



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