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Online trader 'failed to deliver goods'
2:00pm Saturday 6th October 2012 in News
THE boss of an internet shop has been rapped after repeatedly failing to meet customers’ orders. <p>The Office of Fair Trading ruled Damon Parsons, from Southend, had acted wrongly by selling items online and then failing to deliver them promptly, as well as refusing to give refunds to people who complained. <p>Mr Parson ran a series of shopping websites through his company, the Online Shopping Company, which was based in Potters Way, Southend. <p>The firm went into liquidation in March, but a legal agreement imposed by the OFT means Mr Parsons could face a fine or even imprisonment if he flouts the law again in the future.<p> An OFT spokesman said: “As a result of the investigation, the OFT considered the operator of these websites had persistently failed to supply goods or to provide a refund after payment had been taken, or to allow cancellation rights to be validly exercised.<p> “In light of this evidence, the OFT formed the view that the Online Shopping Company may be operating in breach of consumer protection legislation likely to harm the collective interests of consumers.”<p> The Online Shopping Company ran ten different websites, including the-Online-Shopping-Company.co.uk, artisanbeers.co.uk and brew-it-yourself.co.uk<p> The sites sold everything from golf equipment to home brewing kits. <p>The OFT launched an investigation after more than 60 people complained about the company’s practices to Southend Trading Standards. <p>Officials found the firm had racked up five breaches of the Sale of Goods Act and various selling regulations, either by not sending out orders quickly enough, or by refusing to refund disgruntled customers. <p>Rather than take Mr Parsons to court, the OFT demanded he sign an undertaking agreeing to not repeat the breaches. Because the undertaking applies to Mr Parsons, rather than the company, it will still stick to him if he sets up any other businesses.<p> If he breaches the terms again, the OFT could choose to take him to county court, where he could be issued with a more severe enforcement order. If he were to ignore that, he could be fined or even jailed for contempt of court. <p>The OFT spokesman added: “When the company went into liquidation, the OFT contacted the liquidator directly to advise that some consumers’ claims with the company were still outstanding.<p> “Consumers who purchased goods via one of the websites operated by the trader were also advised to contact the liquidators directly.”