The Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams has launched a new e-commerce marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings (TSR), which rates the anti-scam prevention measures of online marketplaces.
Ministries such as the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Communications and Information, Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry were involved in this committee.
The six platforms to first receive ratings were Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10, Facebook Marketplace, Shopee, and Carousell, from a range of one to four ticks.
Amazon, Lazada and Qoo10 received the highest rating of four ticks, while Shopee got three ticks, Carousell two ticks, and Facebook Marketplace the lowest rating of one tick.
At the same time, the committee also released a revised Technical Reference 76 (TR 76) on Guidelines for Electronic Commerce Transactions, which is a guide that facilitates better e-commerce transactions.
The rating system is, according to Minister of State for Home Affairs and Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan, a system that will make the e-commerce environment safer, reducing the chance of scams.
Consumers will be able to gauge how safe the platforms they make their transactions are, and also be better informed on how they should look out for scams. Retailers on reputable sites will also be able to build trust upon the fact they are verifiably reliable sellers.
Metrics of Judgment
Presently for the anti-scam safety ratings, the metrics for the platforms are whether:
- seller identity needs to be verified
- the platforms monitor fraudulent seller behaviour
- secure payment solutions are available
- transaction records and user data are maintained
- reporting and dispute resolution mechanisms are in place
Measures that will better gauge e-commerce marketplace safety like greater disclosure of seller identities and their contact information is also projected to be discussed.
Concerns were raised by Professor Lawrence Loh, director at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at National University of Singapore, about e-commerce marketplace platforms balancing between their safety ratings and convenience, which directly affects the amount of users that will use the platform.
However, he generally believes that it’s a step in the right direction, as does the head of public policy of Meta (which Facebook Marketplace is under) in the ASEAN region, Miss Clara Koh.
Miss Koh, however, also highlighted that the metrics of anti-scam safety in the TSR were uniform, and that it did not necessarily take into account the measures that Facebook Marketplace takes specifically to protect its consumers.
Last year, there were 2,707 cases of e-commerce scams last year, amounting to a hefty $5.8 million of losses. 998 cases were from Carousell, and 562 were on Facebook Marketplace.
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