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Commerce Commission opens investigation into Celebration Box as owners say death threats were made against them

The Commerce Commission has opened an investigation into Auckland company Celebration Box under the Fair Trading Act, while accusations of cyber bullying from both the company and its critics fly.

The Auckland company, owned by Iyia Liu and Briar Howard, sells customised boxes of confectionery and desserts which are delivered to customers on a certain date, with prices ranging from $39.95 up to $139.95 for a box.

It has been the subject of numerous complaints to the Commerce Commission this year relating to the standard of their product and customer service, especially around the Father's Day period, and the Commission confirmed this week it is now actively investigating the complaints.

The company apologised at the time, with Ms Howard acknowledging "we made mistakes" and saying "we are sincerely sorry to all customers who haven't had the experience they expected with us, and we accept full responsibility for this".

A handful of the complaints made online about Celebration Box.
A handful of the complaints made online about Celebration Box. Source: Screenshots/Supplied

Ms Howard told 1 NEWS the company has now "rectified any problems and have since changed any appropriate processes to ensure every box that leaves our warehouse is of the highest quality".

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She said the company is complying with all requests from the Commission and is due to meet with them next week.

Celebration Box's Instagram account - one of their primary sources of marketing and revenue - was removed on Monday for violating "community guidelines", but was reinstated soon after on Tuesday evening.

A parody page of Celebration Box has been created both on Instagram and Facebook, and it posted a celebratory message when the business's page was taken down, writing "Celebration Box NZ is down! Their 77k following has just been removed from the internet after their anon bully accounts were reported."

Ms Howard said her company had nothing to do with any alleged cyber bullying incidents, and that the true reason their Instagram page was removed this week was due to five false copyright claims made by someone impersonating a number of people, one of those being an impersonator of Max Key.

A spokesperson for Instagram confirmed to 1 NEWS that the page had been temporarily removed for alleged copyright infringement, and was subsequently reinstated after the reports were found to be fraudulent.

Ms Howard said Celebration Box, and especially co-owner Iyia Liu, have been the target of significant malicious trolling over the past few months, including receiving death threats and racial abuse.

Celebration Box has asked police for help in finding the alleged trolls, Ms Howard said, "but the police have advised they can’t do anything about this, despite having received death threats and ongoing hate mail in relation to the matter.

"Since Fathers Day we have continued to move forward," Ms Howard said. "Yet no one has reported the continuous bulling Iyia has received, including racial hate.

"We have created 12 jobs, pay our taxes and GST, we have all our certificates and we work so hard each day."

The Commission did not provide a timeline for its investigation and said it will not comment further while the investigation is ongoing.

Screenshots of a complaint made about the quality of a Celebration Box.
Screenshots of a complaint made about the quality of a Celebration Box. Source: Supplied