Antitrust regulator suspends operation of bogus online shopping mall
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's antitrust regulator said Monday it has temporarily suspended the operation of Sacrastrada, an online shopping mall that purportedly sold luxury items at bargain prices, on fraud charges.
The move came after the state-run Korea Customer Agency received more than 100 reports from users from May to August claiming that they did not receive their orders nor refunds from the South Korean online shopping mall, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said.
The FTC said the total damages are estimated at 750 million won (US$520,000), although the actual amount may be much higher as the count only includes claims made from May 21 to Aug. 6.
The shopping mall sold around 23,000 luxury items, including bags, shoes and wallets, with discounts of up to 35 percent. However, the FTC said none of the orders were delivered to customers.
Sacrastrada also did not have any physical office. The FTC added that an official who claimed to be in Italy for the shipment of the products was actually in Hong Kong.
After credit card payments were suspended on the website in August amid the growing number of complaints, the company also induced customers to make payments through bank transfers, it added.
The shopping mall was shut down Friday under cooperation with a web hosting service provider. The tentative decision was made before the FTC completed its investigation to prevent further damages.
The FTC said it plans to complete the probe on Sacrastrada as soon as possible and take stern actions for any violations of the law.
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