Baby sharks, the beloved toy store from Disney, is now the subject of a massive investigation into its online sales and marketing practices.
In a news conference yesterday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) confirmed it had launched an investigation into Baby Shark Australia over the sale of baby sharks in online shopping platforms such as eBay.
In the statement, ASIC said the Australian Tax Office had informed it it had obtained a warrant to seize the company’s Australian tax and VAT records and that it was seeking documents and documents relating to the sale, including the online and mobile auctioning of baby shark toys.”ASIC’s investigation revealed the Baby Shark retailer’s sale of a wide range of baby-shaped toy items, including baby yodas, to multiple eBay sellers,” ASIC said.
“The ASIC believes these sellers sold the toys online without the necessary clearance, which is an offence under the Corporations Act.”
On February 27, 2017, ASIC issued a warrant for the records of the Australian tax office.
The warrant was granted, ASIC has commenced an investigation, and ASIC will pursue appropriate sanctions.
“The ASIC investigation began after a complaint from the Australian Consumer Law Centre (ACLC), which filed a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on March 10, 2017.”
In our investigation we found numerous instances of Baby Shark selling baby shark items that are not toys and that are sold in an online auction site,” ASIC’s CEO and chief legal officer, Richard Jervis, said in a statement.”
We have made a number of enquiries to confirm the identity of the buyer, the location of the sale and the buyer’s account information.
“Mr Jervas said the ASIC investigation would not lead to any enforcement action against Baby Shark, but said that if the online sales were found to be illegal, ASIC would take action against the sellers.”
As part of our investigation, ASIC will be taking action against any individual or entity who is selling a product that is not a toy, which includes selling a baby shark,” he said.
Mr Jevis said that in the wake of the allegations, the company had decided to remove all Baby Shark products from its online stores and had begun contacting sellers.
But the investigation also revealed that Baby Shark was also selling toys in other countries, including Europe and the US.”
In November 2017, Baby Shark removed the baby shark from its website, but the sale was later reinstated by the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) after it had been removed from eBay and Amazon.”
ASIC will continue to investigate the sale practices of Baby Sharks and will take any appropriate actions.”ABC News contacted Baby Shark’s head office for comment, but they did not respond to request for comment.
In November 2017, Baby Shark removed the baby shark from its website, but the sale was later reinstated by the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) after it had been removed from eBay and Amazon.
A spokesperson for Baby Shark told ABC News the company “reversed” its decision to remove the baby sharks from its Australian stores.
“This is a temporary step that will allow us to sell our Baby Shark toys in our Australian stores in order to comply with local regulations,” the spokesperson said.
In response to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) announcement, Baby Sharks CEO and CEO, Michael Smith, told the ABC that Baby Sharks was “working diligently” to comply fully with the regulations and had contacted the AFP to “request that they act as an intermediary”.
“We are in compliance with all Australian regulations,” Mr Smith said.