E-commerce in Ghana: Tiptoe lane on tonaton

Don’t give me a lecture on how honest,peace-loving and religious Ghanaians are, I’ll find you and pour hot water on you (I’m serious). The average Ghanaian will swindle you in the blink of an eye, you just need to lose your guard for one second.  The internet of things holds a lot of promise for the average Ghanaian who likes buying and selling and also holds promise for the thieves on the tiptoe lane too. You hear countless stories of people getting robbed in circle, they buy soaps instead of phones or fake chinese phones. It’s  funny till it happens to you. There a lot of fake phones on the market (hint hint, Ghana government), they also need to be sold.

E-commerce thrives when there is honesty, or a body that can guarantee honesty. In Ghana, we have none of these. Buying things on the internet is one of the riskiest things you could ever do, especially on sites where you have to meet the seller, like tonaton and olx. I have heard stories of people getting duped, or losing the money and what they have on them to the merchant. All they have is the thief’s number and he is going to throw the SIM card away. What can you do next? SIM cards are registered so you can trace the thief, right? WRONG. Most of these thieves buy “PRE REGISTERED SIM CARDS” and register with fake details because Ghana, our beloved country which is free forever, doesn’t have a central database of IDs, making it difficult for telcos to verify if the ID details are legit. psyche.  (What happened to the national identification thing? Ok.)  Honestly, its very easy to be a thief on the internet in Ghana. Very easy. You can rob someone in Kumasi then go and live in Cape coast, IF you are able to clean your footprints well (You should easily do this). They can’t even trace your IP address. You can receive money from your “dupee” victim with our new mobile money payment platforms, show a fake ID, that’s all, you are rich (I’m not saying go and steal oh, neither am I giving hints -___-).

Are you still wondering why E-commerce doesn’t work in Ghana? Well don’t. To be fair to the struggling e-commerce websites, it is very difficult to trace these kind of things. It is up to you the buyer to make sure you don’t get duped. There are other options like kaymu where you pay online then they send the stuff to your doorstep, at an extra cost (deep frown).

Well this is the best I can do, here goes:

i) If the price of the item is too good to be true, then its not true.

ii) If the person you call is in circle, or wants to meet you at busy internet, forget it. Go into circle, look for a shop to buy it,it will be around the same price.

iii) If the number is a new number 057,055,054,050 etc, don’t call. If you want to, be careful.

iv) When you buy the phone, don’t let the person put it in a box. Hold the ORIGINAL phone he shows you. DO NOT GIVE IT BACK TO HIM, even in a shop.

v) Make sure the phone you are buying is an original one. If you can’t tell the difference between original and fake ones, check the IMEI numbers on the phone maker’s official site. There are fake androids and iPhones too, don’t play. Better still, go with someone who can tell the difference.

vi) Don’t go and buy stuff in circle alone. If you are feeling uneasy about what you are buying, don’t buy it.

vii) If you can’t trace the person you are buying the stuff from, don’t buy it. In case the phone has a defect, how will you return it?

viii) Just go to a shop.

ix) When you get robbed in Circle, there is a police station by the first overhead near the filling station. Visit there and report the case. They will help you.

x) Be careful when sites ask of your bank card details, don’t leave them online, especially if the site isn’t the official site of the bank or its not a secure https site(look at the address bar).

 

An article to the wise,

Ordinary Ghana.

” Let the thieves rule you”

Last night I read one of the best news items ever on citi fm. It wasn’t any complicated post about how the government is destroying the nation or some lies from a government official telling us how things are getting better; it was honest talk about how stupid those in government think we are. I liked it because I had two things in mind, either they didn’t know what was going on or they knew but were genuinely helpless. After yesterday I realized they know, they just don’t care enough. We are only useful to them during elections. The mystery has been solved.

Allow me to do some citizen journalism(Credit to Citi fm for the images).

Act 1, Scene 1.(Characters in this play are a work of fiction, every resemblance to actual people is pure coincidence)

You know these Imani guys are always complaining and giving their suggestions, bra Kofi was on his usual rant walking around the flag staff house in the hot sun, talking plenty;

sds

 

 

 

 

 

Unknown to him, he was disturbing uncle Stan’s air conditioned office. Uncle Stan told his fellow collegues, “These small boys and their too known,they can’t even be class prefects but they think they can win elections and rule a country”. He angrily went out to meet bra kofi and said;

b2

Bra Kofi was confused, he knew he was talking about lying, he didn’t think it had anything to do with winning an election, he decided to correct him.

b3

Uncle Stan had misfired, he needed to save his face fast,best way? personal attack and play the victim. He started shouting by the roadside and jumped into the gutter in front of the flagstaff house,

b4

Bra Kofi was trying to make sense but he had been hit by uncle Stan so he also jumped into the gutter with him, shegee!

b5

A small crowd was forming, they were surprised to see two grown men playing in the gutter. Things were getting out of hand;

Screenshot_2014-08-07-06-06-00

Some Kofi Annan quickly went to call Chief Imani to separate the two;

b6

Bra Kofi calmed down, but uncle Stan won’t be defeated, he had some left in him;

b7 b8

Bra Kofi then broke free from the people holding him back and spoke his mind, he won’t allow uncle Stan to talk to him by heart;

b9

By now the people from the flagstaff house had come to call uncle Stan, “Lunch prepared with the Ghanaian tax payer’s money is readyyyy!” He was tired, his air con office was waiting for him. He looked bra kofi in the eye, delivered the final blow and walked away;

b10

There was silence,  the crowd was like;

2147093-un_mother_of_god_meme_rage_face shock

 

Someone’s phone started playing Daddy Lumba’s Yentie Obiaa. Joseph was also surprised;

face_shock

Batman was passing by and heard it, he was also like;


Shocked-batman-reaction-meme

 

I was like…

BrIEj4dCAAA6e7F

 

And walked away.

Ordinary Ghanaian