Anger at online toy store

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

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.

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