Complaints have been laid about an outdoor gear website, after shoppers have been left frustrated and out of pocket.
A number of people who have ordered gear from the aorangimethven.co.nz website have reported receiving inferior, low-quality versions of the branded gear they have ordered and complaints have gone unanswered. The website sells a range of outdoor gear, including top brands at well under half of the recommended retail price.
In December, Rodney Pohio ordered a top-of-the-line cycle helmet off the website for $100 – a bargain at less than half the recommended retail price. A month later, a box full of cheap gear turned up at his house, including two low-quality helmets which he later found cost $7, but not the high-quality helmet he ordered.
He contacted the website to complain but has received no response.
Several other people have written on the scamadvisor.com website about their dealings with Aorangi Methven. They have reported similar experiences, receiving incorrect low-quality items and getting no response to complaints. One person also reported being overcharged on their credit card and another, who ordered a tent footprint, received a scarf instead.
According to the Domain Name Commission (DNC) register, the website was registered in November last year. Despite the Kiwi domain name, aorangimethven.co.nz is registered to an address in India, with contact details for a town in Germany. Scamadviser.com says the email contact is based in China.
Wilderness made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the website.
So what can consumers do if they have had issues buying equipment from a website?
The police and the Commerce Commission only investigate disputes that involve New Zealand-based businesses.
The government’s Consumer Protection agency said it does not investigate these cases and recommended people report scams to independent online safety organisation, Netsafe.
Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker said it had received a handful of complaints about Aorangi Methven, but said policing the internet falls into a grey area.
Victims can take a case to the DNC to get the website taken down, however, this requires a court order.
Netsafe was also calling on the DNC, which collects website registration fees, to at least ensure the registration details for ‘.nz’ websites were correct.
The Commission did not respond to questions from Wilderness.
In the meantime, Cocker said it’s a case of buyer beware.
“We recommend people do some research before buying products from a website, particularly if it’s a website they haven’t used before.
“It’s a good idea to do a quick online search for the website with the word ‘scam’ or ‘review’. If they’ve ripped off others, there’s a good chance you’ll see warnings from disgruntled customers.”