Anger at online toy store
CONSUMER cops are moving to shut down an Australian website accused of ripping off parents and shattering the birthday wishes of children across the country.
The move comes after an official public warning was issued last night about toypalaceaustralia. com. au in response to about 100 complaints from irate customers who have made payment but not received their goods.
The investigation into Toy Palace has been led by Consumer Affairs Victoria on behalf of fair trading authorities around the country.
CAV’s acting director Phil D’Adamo said he had “reasonable grounds to suspect that the company’s conduct may constitute breaches of the Australian Consumer Law”.
The slick- looking site claims to have 30,000 toys for sale, including Lego, Star Wars and Frozen merchandise. But in fact it is run out of a Kennard storage unit in Melbourne by sole trader Christopher Miles.
Toy Palace was first reviewed on productreview. com. au on May 25 and is yet to achieve a rating of anything other than “terrible” – the lowest possible – in 49 reviews.
Only 13 of the 9000 or so businesses rated since 2013 have such an inglorious record, said productreview managing director Elmar Shar. On the rare occasion a refund is provided, 20 per cent is first docked for administration and “restocking”.
CAV has asked the manager of . au web domains, auDA, to remove the site.
Victoria’s Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garrett said: “We are taking action to get this website pulled down to stop hard working Australians from being ripped off. It is totally unacceptable that this business is refusing to give people full refunds for children’s toys that are never delivered,” Ms Garrett said.
“This operator needs to be held to account and is currently being investigated for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.”
Toy Palace customers who have requested a refund without success can contact their state consumer affairs authority for help.
CAV said those who had paid by credit card can seek a chargeback from their bank.
Mr Miles said he did not believe Toy Palace had engaged in “unfair business practices as the number of complaints filed compared to the orders we have received and fulfilled is small”.
Toy Palace customer Terry McFarlane of Kempsey was one of those to raise the alarm after son Tyrone was left without a fifth birthday present.
“He was devastated,” Mr McFarlane said. “I hope noone else gets ripped off.”
NOT HAPPY: Tyrone McFarlane, 5, with parents Terry McFarlane and Aminah Bakthier.