A Wellington-based Christmas hamper company that failed to deliver has started issuing refunds after Fair Go intervened.
Hampers 4U was paid thousands of dollars by a variety of customers to provide Christmas hampers, to be delivered two weeks before the big day.
Customer Lee Anne Brown paid over $2279 for two hampers. When Christmas came, nothing arrived.
"They said they would be here on a Wednesday, so I took a day off work and waited all day," she told Fair Go from the porch of her home.
"I was pissed off. I was mad."
Brown tried everything to contact Hampers 4U.
"I think I rang one day 17 times."
She was promised a refund but nothing arrived.
Brown is one of several customers left out of pocket.
Dunedin's Richard Buchanan says his mother-in-law paid $700. What showed up, he says, was a box with a sprinkling of groceries and a $50 Pak 'N Save voucher.
"A van did show up, a couple of guys came ran across the street, dropped a box that was pretty shoddy, covered in masking tape and before we could even look at it they were in the van and gone."
Richard says the contents of the box were scant.
"Couple packets of meat, biscuits and chips, lower brand cans of spaghetti and some kidney beans which we were not excited about because no one eats them."
By searching company records, Fair Go discovered Hampers 4U is owned by Wellington man Arvinder Singh. Singh goes by Arvinder Chalal on social media and has shares in a string of businesses. Most appear to have stopped trading.
Fair Go’s inquiries indicate Singh is in India. He offered to pay refunds to three customers Fair Go had been in contact with.
He eventually paid partial refunds to three customers, including Brown, who received $1900.
Singh apologised for letting customers down. He told Fair Go his staff had failed to pass on complaints and a courier company he had engaged didn't have time to deliver the hampers.
He said "we were relying on a third party courier company and this was our first year and we kind of missed it".
"They (the courier company) said for these sort of deliveries you have to give us two months in advance.”
Fair Go contacted the courier company Hampers 4U say they use.
The courier company says they have no contract with Hampers 4U and don't need two months notice to make deliveries.
Singh also said he couldn't refund customers earlier because of his medical problems.
"I had medical condition and had to go to overseas to get surgery otherwise I would (be) in big problem in New Zealand I would have to wait one and a half years.
"Why you have to trust me now is because I am back to normal now."
Hampers 4U website is still online, although its Facebook page hasn't been active since Christmas Eve.
Meanwhile Buchanan says no one in the family has eaten the kidney beans from the hamper he received.