A New Zealand-based online clothing store has come under fire from users who claim the products are poor quality, often the wrong size, and take too long to ship.

The website has been investigated by the Commerce Commission after it fielded several complaints, prompting a warning from Consumer New Zealand to be wary of online bargains.

But the company, Deal Man, hit back, saying changes were made to rectify "teething issues" and staff were working to follow up concerns.

Deal Man was set up by Cambridge student Ben Cardwell in August 2013, and in March last year he told the Weekend Herald he had made $1.5 million in sales, thanks to advertising on Facebook.


However, in May last year one disgruntled customer set up Deal Man NZ Unhappy Customers - a Facebook page where consumers could air concerns about the site.

Complaints ranged from misleading advertising and poor quality products to the wrong sized clothing arriving months late.

Several attempts by the Weekend Herald to contact Mr Cardwell were unsuccessful but a man at the address where the 23-year-old was living with his parents last year said Mr Cardwell was in the United States.

A Deal Man employee, Fuchsia Saarinen, said in an email response that orders, mostly from Chinese manufacturers, could be tracked and most arrived as expected. When they didn't, Deal Man offered exchanges, store credits and refunds.

The company had removed poor quality items from its website and responded to the Commerce Commission's communication by "taking extra steps to ensure compliance with their standards", she said.

A Commerce Commission spokesman confirmed a small number of complaints had been made and said Mr Cardwell had been advised of his obligations under the Fair Trading and Consumer Guarantees acts.

Penalties under the Fair Trading Act include a maximum fine of $600,000 for a business and $200,000 for an individual per offence.

Consumer NZ chief executive officer Sue Chetwin said if clothes for sale online did not look like the descriptions advertising them, it would be considered misleading under the acts. However it could be hard to get refunds from an online business.