Robert George, Daily US Times, Dhaka: US-based e-commerce company Amazon is yet to open its business in Bangladesh. But a fake Amazon company already uses the brand name of Amazon, which creates confusion and deceiving Bangladeshi people.
A syndicate is already actively working in Bangladesh, who are exploiting the brand names of globally popular and successful companies and buying the domain using that specific brand name before that company launches its business in Bangladesh. When a particular company is set to launch its business here in this country, the syndicate demands a huge amount of money in return for that official domain name.
This unethical syndicated domain buying and selling are going on for a while in Bangladesh. And because of this practice, global companies are facing lots of trouble before setting their venture in this country. However, the government officials are unable to take necessary action against this group of tricksters. One of the concerned government organizations named Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is non-responsive and helpless in this regard. Hundreds of cases like this are pending in BTRC for investigation.
Amazon, a US-based e-commerce company, has no direct business here in Bangladesh. But a fake Amazon company is misusing the brand name Amazon and trying to fool the people with a malicious website (amazon-bd.com). They officially registered (Reg: No C-148856) the company name as ‘Amazon Bangladesh’ following the guidelines of Registrar of Joint Stock Companies And Firms (RJSC), a government office with the sole authority, which facilitates the formation of companies.
Every foreign company has to take permission from the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), government officials to promote and facilitate private sector investment by foreign and domestic investors, and the Ministry of Commerce before setting up the business in Bangladesh. But these two organizations have no clue about “Amazon Bangladesh” and its activities. Analysts warn that if this fake Amazon company starts its operation in Bangladesh by misusing the brand name of Amazon, then it may cause massive damage to the country and as well as to the Amazon itself, and millions of Bangladeshi people can get cheated by them.
A man named Aman Ullah Chowdhury registered the name “Amazon Bangladesh Limited” from RJSC. He even introduced himself as the Managing Director of Amazon Bangladesh Limited on social media platforms. He also bought the domain, which is “amazon-bd.com.” If anyone opens this link, it will take the users to Amazon’s main website, as it is redirected with the leading site.
As per the US-based e-commerce site Amazon, their domain is owned under Amazon Technologies, Inc. At the same time, Amazon-bd’s domain is owned by Amazon Bangladesh.
No authority is aware of the launching of the operation of Amazon, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce site, in Bangladesh. Even nobody from the industry ever heard the name of the person who claims to be the Managing Director of Amazon Bangladesh. Finance Secretary of E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), an organization formed by the Bangladeshi e-commerce entrepreneurs, Mr. Abdul Hoque Anu, told the national daily Jugantor that, “We have no official information about the operation of Amazon in Bangladesh. The government should take this matter seriously.”
Minister of Post and Telecommunication of Bangladesh: Mr. Mustafa Jabbar is very well informed about the country’s e-commerce sector. But He also doesn’t know anything about the activity of Amazon here. Upon questioning regarding this, He told the reporter that, “I have no idea about this. However, this issue is not a concern of the Post and Telecommunication ministry. Ministry of Commerce and BIDA may have any information about this.”
WTO Cell under the Ministry of Commerce regulates the launch of any foreign companies in this country. Director-General of WTO Cell Mr. Hafizur Rahman told us, “We didn’t get any application from Amazon to start their operation in Bangladesh. Although two months ago, on behalf of Amazon, a team of representatives from India came to discuss selling Bangladeshi products to foreign markets. But they didn’t discuss anything about selling products in Bangladesh.”
Without disclosing the name, a higher official from BIDA said, “If anyone violates the regulations and operates the business in Bangladesh without permission, we would take strict action against them.” Director of BIDA Mr. Ariful Hoque is looking onto the matter of investing in the e-commerce sector. He said, “Companies like Alibaba and Daraz already invested in Bangladesh for e-commerce business. But Amazon did not file any application to us. We have no information regarding that.”
Without revealing the name, one of the Director of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) told us, Registering the name of a renowned global company even before they start their business here in Bangladesh means that the person who is registering it may unethically demand money from that global company when they plan to expand their business here. We have seen this kind of misconduct earlier. We are trying to take the necessary steps to handle this type of fraudulent.”
Another official from BASIS told Jugantor, “A syndicated group took this misconduct as a profitable business opportunity. This group buys domains misusing the brand names of various domestic and foreign companies. Then they try to sell the domains containing the official brand name. So when the main company comes here to launch their operation, they find their brand names are already taken. At that time, the companies got no choice but to buy that authentic domain with a huge amount of money.” This person from BASIS fears that by misusing Amazon’s brand value, this fake Amazon company could take false orders and exploit the trust of the Bangladeshi people.
Aman Ullah Chowdhury, who claims to be the Founder and Managing Director of Amazon Bangladesh, confessed to Jugantor that they have no authorization from the US-based company Amazon to operates the business in Bangladesh. He said, “We haven’t got any proper official nod. Because of the pandemic situation, people from Amazon couldn’t come to Bangladesh. But they did their survey here. Everything is complete as we are going to monitor the Bangladesh operation, that’s why they gave us some fieldwork. We are working on that right now.”
Aman Ullah Chowdhury claims that Amazon did not appoint anyone, but to develop the Amazon App for Bangladesh; they are working with a team with almost 18 members here. He said He got the approval from Registrar of Joint Stock Companies And Firms (RJSC) after ensuring Amazon’s arrival from the government officials.
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