Shoppers duped by rogue traders on the internet can file an online civil lawsuit with the courts soon as part of the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry’s efforts to tackle escalating e-commerce scams.
The move comes after scores of online shoppers took to social media to complain they received products that were different than what they ordered in terms of type, quality or quantity.
The approach was laid out following a recent meeting between DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn and Supreme Court president Piyakul Boonperm to discuss the matter.
The lawsuits can be filed with the court around the clock from later this month, Mr Chaiwut said.
Because it is not a paper-based lawsuit filing, plaintiffs do not need to visit the court during office hours.
People can fill out the information online and attach files of evidence for the lawsuit, he said.
Mr Chaiwut said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha directed the DES Ministry to seek ways to help people conned by online shopping scams.
There have been many complaints about the scams, but still no direct approaches to prosecute the perpetrators, he said.
The electronic lawsuits focus on civil cases to help online shoppers receiving incorrect products, Mr Chaiwut said. This problem is becoming critical, he said.
Mr Chaiwut indicated the DES Ministry and the Court of Justice are putting the finishing touches on the online lawsuit platform, which is expected to be operational later this month.
Last year more than 20,000 complaints were lodged through the DES Ministry’s 1212 hotline in connection with suspected online trading scams.
The number is expected to double this year in line with the growth of the e-commerce segment, according to the ministry.
Mr Chaiwut said the DES Ministry is ready to work with the Court of Justice to deal with the problem by providing the necessary tools and linking the court with the ministry’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) for cooperation.
Plaintiffs can verify their identity on the website, then a panel of five judges is set up to receive the complaints and consider damages from the cases.
The process is easy for users, even if their damage is not substantial, he said.
According to ETDA’s “Thailand Internet User Behaviour 2021” survey, in terms of the popularity of e-marketplaces, Shopee was ranked first among buyers, followed by Lazada, Facebook, Line and Instagram.
For sellers, the most popular platform was Facebook, followed by Shopee, Line, Lazada and Instagram.