Yahoo Japan has decided to refund users of its auction Web site any money that was sent to a consumer electronics retailer that abruptly closed down and disappeared.
Tokyo-based Kaden-dot-com began selling low-priced consumer electronics goods such as flat-panel TVs and digital cameras on Dec. 1 through Yahoo Auctions, which is Japan's leading online auction service. But around the middle of the month Yahoo began receiving complaints from users that goods had been paid for but not delivered.
Yahoo contacted Kaden-dot-com, which promised to get the products delivered, but the following day Yahoo was unable to contact the company. All subsequent attempts to contact Kaden-dot-com failed and the company's account on the auction Web site was put on hold.
Yahoo contacted several hundred users who bought goods from the company and is still waiting for responses from them all to gauge the size of the problem. The company's basic policy is that it will refund 80 percent of the value of the auction in such cases, however this time it has decided to refund the money in full, it said.
The goods for sale were offered at low prices and so attracted the interests of users. For example, a 52-inch Sharp Aquos LCD (liquid crystal display) TV was on sale for YEN 340,500 (AUD$3,622). The same set can be found for between YEN 375,599 and YEN 598,200 on the Kakaku.com comparison shopping site.
The company listed an address in a Tokyo building that houses many small company offices. A visit to the building earlier this week found no evidence that Kaden-dot-com was still in the building.