Monday, February 19, 2007

StoresOnline coughs up refunds

US e-commerce software seller StoresOnline has been forced to refund $679,000 to Australians who bought its software.

The refund comes after consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took action against StoresOnline International Inc and StoresOnline Inc in the Federal Court in June 2005, alleging that the companies had been engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.

The resulting payment meant customers had been refunded 94.4c in the dollar, with an average refund payment of over $3800, the ACCC said.

"Generally it is very difficult to obtain refunds for consumers from corporations that are located off-shore, such as StoresOnline," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.

"Quickly seeking and obtaining orders freezing funds paid to StoresOnline helped make this outcome possible," he said.

The action taken by the ACCC in June 2005 came as the result of seminars conducted by StoresOnline in Australia promoted the sale of e-commerce packages priced from $2500 to $5500. The seminars promoted the software as easy to use, required no special internet or computer knowledge and claimed round-the-clock support would be provided for the software.

The ACCC argued that those claims, along with allegedly unscripted and spontaneous testimonials about the product, were misleading and deceptive.

The ACCC initially took legal action against StoresOnline International Inc, US-based Galaxy Mall Inc, as well Gold Coast resident Brett Perkins.

Artile by Chris Jenkins in australianIT.com.au FEBRUARY 02, 2007

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