Trading Standards Officers investigating electronics ecommerce website electradirect.co.uk have warned that its customers are unlikely to get their money back.
The website offered mobile phones, consumer goods and computer equipment at bargain basement prices, claiming to be selling bankrupt stock.
Potential customers could not buy online, but were required to pay via cash, cheque or bank transfer. However, customers have complained to vnunet.com that their cheques have been cashed but they did not receive the goods advertised.
Hosting company Ision Internet said it took the website offline Monday morning under its abuse of service conditions after receiving complaints about its operations. The firm added that the Data Protection Act prevents them from releasing information about electradirect.co.uk.
Newsgroup postings have reported that the website carried only a mobile phone number and email address as contact details. It is also said to have displayed logos for ecommerce authentication schemes but that they did not correctly link through to the scheme's host website, as they should.
Customers who had emailed the firm over its lack of physical address were quoted an address in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
But Kings Lynn Trading Standards Officer Tim Dodes told vnunet.com that the address is well known to both them and the police as a haven for disreputable companies.
He said: "The address is well known to both us and the police. It is a series of postal boxes that can be used by companies based anywhere in the country, some of which are not as reputable as they should be. Companies can be set up, take in money and close again within weeks."
"We started our investigation two weeks ago and are currently trying to trace the person behind the company. But it would appear that the chances of anybody getting their money back are slim," he warned.
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