SINGAPORE: Popular shopping and shipping agent ezbuy on Friday (Dec 8) apologised to customers for the disruption to its China Buy-For-Me service, and added that more of its purchasing accounts have been blocked by Taobao since the initial disruption last month.
Ezbuy had stopped taking new China Buy-For-Me orders just before Singles' Day on Nov 11, the annual online discount gala, saying that a "very popular China e-commerce website" had suspended many of the accounts of its purchasing partners.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Friday, ezbuy clarified that the e-commerce website was Chinese shopping giant Taobao. It added that from Dec 1 to Dec 3, another round of its purchasing accounts - used to place orders from Taobao - had been blocked.
"More than 300 purchasing accounts were also facing technical restrictions, as long as these accounts had indicated our warehouse addresses," it said.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Ezbuy explained that it first faced the issue on Nov 4, when 161 of its purchasing accounts on Taobao had problems checking out items in their e-shopping carts.
These accounts had been "actively operating" for several years without any issues, said ezbuy.
Subsequently on Nov 8, the start of ezbuy's four-day Singles' Day event, the 210 new purchasing accounts set up by ezbuy were similarly all unable to carry out orders and "seemed to be facing technical restrictions".
Three days later, ezbuy's main warehouses in China were blocked on the Taobao system, and on Nov 13 another 200 purchasing accounts also started to face "technical issues" despite having shipping addresses to new warehouses.
At the same time, ezbuy said its purchasing agents were told by Taobao that ezbuy's warehouse addresses in China were involved in "abnormal activities", while the sellers' shops also had credit points deducted by Taobao.
The problems continued into December, despite ezbuy sourcing for new warehouse addresses, culminating in more than 300 purchasing accounts facing restrictions from Dec 1 to Dec 3.
"With the constraints raised during the past few weeks, it took us much longer to process our customers' orders and we are very sorry about the inconvenience caused," said ezbuy.
"It was a tough decision to make, but we decided to keep silent until we cleared most of the backlogs to prevent any external interference and further delays in our customers’ orders," it said, acknowledging that many customers had found ezbuy's customer service officers hard to reach.
Ezbuy has now included other China e-commerce sites such as JD.com, Mogujie and "our very Own Sellers" on its platform, the company added.
Ezbuy, which describes itself as Singapore's first and largest global shopping platform, said it has more than 3 million registered customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.