Kids victim of eBay 'Grinch'

MOST children will jump out of bed at the crack of dawn tomorrow to find the Christmas presents they asked Santa for - but not Aleah, 9, and Ashlin, 7, Sinclair.

The two young girls and their parents, Christie and Jay, were victims of a faceless Grinch who took $990 of the Sinclair's money and kept the girls' dream present as well.

All year the Frenchville parents said they saved for the cubby house their little girls had always wanted.

When Christie and Jay won the bid for a perfect wooden cubby from Victorian business Kids Outdoors on eBay in October, they thought they had their little girls' present under wraps.

"(Kids Outdoors) had all this really good feedback," Christie said.

It took just over a month for that feedback to change.

Christie said she checked the site again after her phone calls to one of the owners went unanswered when the cubby house never arrived. "I didn't realise until then what had happened," she said.

Like many other Australian families, the Sinclairs were allegedly scammed by Kids Outdoors, with the business believed to have shut up shop, possibly taking tens of thousands of dollars with them.

"The girls were really excited about the cubby house," Christie said. But in the spirit of Christmas, eBay has set up a fund to return the money to the victims of the alleged scam.

Sandy Culkoff, an eBay spokesperson, said their top priority is to provide a safe marketplace.

"eBay took immediate action to suspend an account of a business selling children's cubby houses, after receiving a number of complaints from buyers that (they) did not receive their product," Ms Culkoff said.

"eBay's top priority is to provide a safe marketplace for buyers and sellers."

Christie said they had spoken with an eBay employee and hoped to have their money returned.

She said it would still be a special Christmas for her little girls.

"We've got bikes for the girls and some other things," Christie said.

A spokeswoman for Victoria Police said they were not investigating the alleged scam, but civil action was being taken.


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