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Concerns mount in the wake of Red Dot shutdown

Agents of Red Dot Network Ltd are unhappy that deposits paid to the now defunct payment solutions provider will likely not be returned to them.

Red Dot’s system involves small terminals and trading balances. The firm buys credit from Myanmar’s telcos – Ooredoo, Telenor, MecTel and MPT – the same as that which shop owners buy. Through Red Dot, these retailers then have virtual balances of top-up, which is depleted as customers walk in for phone credits. The terminals print receipts with instructions on how to top up.

Red Dot also facilitates mobile money transfers, bill payments and online purchases for people who do not have access to mainstream banking facilities.

Things began to go wrong in last October and November, when Red Dot users started reporting problems with the network’s payment machines and transfers. By December, the firm had stopped facilitating payments altogether, agents said.

Since the start of this month, phone numbers provided to the agents to contact Red Dot’s support service were no longer in service.

“The service was good to use until November last year. Then we started receiving communication error messages, saying the service could be used,” said one Red Dot agent who has a total of nine terminals. “I paid deposits of K75,000 for each device,” he added.

“When I tried connecting with Red Dot last month, they said the network would be up and running again in February and that I could withdraw my deposits then. But today I saw on social media that the company has closed down,” he said.

Daw Le Yin Moe, another Red Dot representative experienced the same situation.

“When I called the contact numbers, they were all turned off. The numbers are for people who have left the company since November or December,” she said.

So far, no reason has been given for the shut down. Red Dot agents are now calling on the government to take action on behalf of those who have lost money in dealing with the firm.

“If possible, we want all our money back. Those who lost their money should band together to file a case or take action,” said a Red Dot representative.

Red Dot first began operations in Myanmar in 2015 and registered as a foreign company in 2017.

In its first year of operations, the firm told the media it had reached 10,000 stores across Myanmar, investing upwards of US$25 million over the period.

Red Dot was founded by Irish businessman John Nagle, who bought the firm from mobile operator Digicel last June. Mr Nagle launched Red Dot with backing from Digicel in 2014, after emerging from bankruptcy in the UK, according to media reports.

Digicel is a mobile phone network provider operating in 33 markets across the Caribbean, Central America, and Oceania. The company is owned by the Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien.

SOURCE: MYANMAR TIMES

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