A 1.65-billion-baht class action lawsuit was on Friday (June 30) lodged with the Civil Court against Wizard Solution Company, distributor of Korea King frying pans in Thailand, by the Consumers Foundation and 74 customers of the frying pans from South Korea.
The court set the first hearing of the case on September 25.
Noting that the case amounts to a gross violation of consumers' right, Consumers Foundation secretary-general Ms Saree Aongsomwang said that the class action suit was intended to set a precedent for the protection of consumers against over-exaggeration of the quality of the frying pan.
She said that the 74 co-plaintiffs were part of 167 frying pan buyers who had lodged complaints with the foundation against the distributor. However, she estimated there were as many as half a million buyers of the frying pans as the distributor, Wizard Solution Co., reportedly imported at least 1.3 million Korea King frying pans into the country and spent 1.6 billion baht in advertising of the product last year.
Ms Saree explained that the 74 co-plaintiffs were divided into two groups�one group bought the Diamond series at 3,900 baht each and the other bought the Gold series at 3,300 baht each.
The two groups were also divided into three sub-groups�the first representing Bangkok buyers, the second representing those living in Bangkok's peripherals, and the third living in other provinces.
Ms Saree said she had confidence in her evidences as well as the ruling of the Office of Consumers' Protection Board (OCPB) banning the exaggerated advertising of the product.
Earlier on May 17, the direct sale committee of the OCPB adopted a resolution allowing Wizard Solution to continue selling the controversial frying pans, but cannot advertise the product on three issues: the frying pan prices; the eight layers of enamel and the slipperiness of the pans.
Following the OCPB's resolution, Wizard Solution Company issued a statement on May 18 saying the company had suspended its advertisements of the product in all TV channels and promised to edit the content of its advertisements which were alleged to be overstated regarding the specifications and prices of the cooking pans.
As for the quality of the cooking pans, the Diamond and Gold series, the company said it was confident that the products met the production standard of South Korea.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)