A consumer rights group has filed a writ petition at the High Court, seeking a direction to refund the e-commerce customers' money stuck in the payment gateways.
Barrister Sabrina Zarin on behalf of the Conscious Consumers Society (CCS) field the writ yesterday at the High Court.
The lawyer told The Business Standard that the High Court bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah may hear the writ next week.
The governor of the Bangladesh Bank, general manager of the Payment Systems Department of that bank, the commerce secretary and the director-general of the World Trade Organisation cell of the commerce ministry, chief executive officers of mobile financial service provider bKash and Nagad, payment gateway SSL Wireless, Foster Pay, and Surjo Pay are made respondents in the plea.
The writ petitioner has prayed for the concerned officials' explanation about why the escrow system introduced by the Bangladesh Bank will not be amended to establish a permanent system of automatically refunding money to customers if the seller fails to deliver the goods, said Barrister Sabrina Zarin.
Earlier on 17 October the CCS served a legal notice to the officials concerned on the same issue. But for their inaction regarding the legal notice, the writ has been field, added Sabrina Zarin.
"We have received specific information on almost 350 victims from the CCS. There is a severe complexity regarding the money stuck in escrow systems," said Barrister Zarin.
Meanwhile, CCS Executive Director Palash Mahmud said thousands of customers' money is stuck in the escrow systems.
"The gateways are saying they need permission from the government or the e-commerce company to release the money. But why will I need the approval of e-commerce companies to get my money back?" he questioned.
The central bank introduced the escrow service in July this year amid widespread allegations of fraud and irregularities against the rogue e-commerce companies like Evaly and Dhamaka.
In an escrow payment service, money paid by the customers for the goods ordered from the e-commerce companies gets deposited in third-party payment gateways. The companies receive the money after submitting supporting documents proving the goods have been delivered.
However, many customers claim they neither got their products nor the money they paid for goods.