The spokesperson for a mask retailer accused of being a "scam site" has spoken out, stating they're "disappointed" about the claims and insisting they've tried to be "as transparent as possible".
Masks.co.nz has come under fire from angry customers including one who contacted Newshub claiming she hadn't received her $50 purchase a month after ordering it. She'd used a discount code provided by social media influencer Jimi Jackson.
Last month, Jackson touted the company on his Facebook page, offering a 10 percent off discount code to over 1 million followers in a now-deleted video.
After Newshub contacted him for comment, Jackson said he thought the makers of the site "were scammers" and he was "gutted" at the customer response.
"I did a deal with them but then my lawyer said the contract was dodgy so I took the post down the next day. Haven't heard back from them since," he said.
"Thats all I know...so sorry!"
Newshub has requested to see the contract and for further comment on the issue, but as of yet Jackson has not responded.
But James, a spokesperson for Masks.co.nz who chose not to reveal his surname, claims he was the one scammed by Jackson. He says there was no contract, but rather a "gentlemen's agreement" that Jackson would film a promotional video on the Queenstown waterfront for $500.
"Jackson was paid to do a quick 20 second video and upload it to his Facebook and Instagram which was meant to be kept on his story for 24 hours and indefinitely on his Instagram and Facebook newsfeed," James told Newshub.
"Two or three days later Jackson deleted the posts from both social networks. When asked about this he said he had no idea why it was deleted and he would put it back up. He didn't do this.
"We were scammed by Jackson."
James provided Newshub with screenshots of private message conversations between himself and Jackson, in which he asked the influencer why he referred to a contract when speaking to media. Jackson did not appear to directly answer the question.
James also addressed the accusations from customers of his site being a "scam" to Newshub, saying "all orders have been fulfilled".
"In no way is Masks.co.nz a 'scam' website. On our homepage we have alerted potential customers of major delays with the postal service," he said.
"We understand the frustration when waiting for an order, but in no way had anyone been scammed - all orders have been fulfilled."
On the Masks.co.nz website it states there is an estimated timeframe of 7 - 60 days for delivery, as well as a warning that due to a "high influx of orders" customers may experience shipping delays - especially with the majority of orders being shipped from countries like India, Taiwan and China.
"[We have] tried to be as transparent as we can with customers. It's disappointing to see us being described as a scam company," James said.
"Most 'scammers' would not have a registered company, they would take money and run as fast as they can. They surely wouldn't respond to media requests or even customers."
The customer who originally reached out to Newshub to complain about the mask retailer messaged soon after the original article was published, revealing someone from the site offered her a tracking number for her parcel, which is still en route from China.
Masks.co.nz previously made headlines for using the official Government COVID-19 branding - including distinctive yellow and white stripes and black text - for advertising discount codes on flyers posted around the community.