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Nigeria’s online business faces integrity threat – Customers

Nigeria’s e-commerce business is battling integrity issues on the part of its promoters and patrons, our correspondent has gathered.

This has reportedly affected confidence in the business causing many who are big fans of online commerce to return to the traditional offline markets.

Customers who spoke to our correspondent complained that what most of the e-commerce players promoted on their websites were not what they delivered to customers.

The Director and Lead Digital Advisory Team, Ernst &Young, West Africa, Mr. Dapo Adewole, confirmed this observation and blamed it on faulty operating models.

He said e-commerce players needed to change their operating models and ensure that quality control was embedded in the system.

He explained that e-commerce websites were not entirely to blame for faulty products because the websites they created were just platforms for various sellers of products to display their products and for sellers to go and buy.

“What the platform owners should do is to ensure that there is quality control and that whatever you upload online is what the end user would get,” he said.

Adewole also agreed that the sector was not well regulated and pointed out the need to do so as e-commerce players complained of unfair treatment from people ordering for items that were supposed to be paid for on delivery.

“But when these items are taken to them, instead of paying for them, they could suddenly change their minds and say they want something else other than what they ordered for,” he said.

Speaking during a forum on ensuring standards in the e-commerce sector, the Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Aboloma, noted that with the increase in consumer complaints being received on the quality of products and services sold online, it had become necessary to have a robust regulatory framework in place to drive the sector.

“For instance, products such as mobile phones, electrical and electronic devices cannot be physically viewed and tested before purchase online while the claims on what they can do have been found in many cases to be inaccurate or sometimes outright false,” he said.

The President, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, Shola Ajulo, stressed the need for service providers to have structures that could protect online customers.

“We need to address things such as warranties, refunds, returns, and misleading adverts. There should be checks and balances that ensure that the online market is safe,” she said.