Saturday, February 7, 2015

Vietnamese Facebookers boycott a big drink producer

Through Facebook pages, thousands of Vietnamese people are calling for a boycott of a big beverage producer after a consumer complained of finding a fly in a sealed bottle and was arrested for attempting to extort compensation for keeping it a secret. Without social media, the scandal would have remained unknown to the public and the aggrieved customer would be executed with the crime of property confiscation.

Vo Van Minh is a restaurant owner in a Southern city of Vietnam. In December 2014, while serving a customer, he discovered a fly inside a sealed beverage bottle produced by Tan Hiep Phat Ltd. In any market, an “UFO” discovered inside a seal can or bottle of foods or drinks would be a scandal to its producer. Rather than reporting to the Customers Protection Committee, Minh asked Tan Hiep Phat for VND 1 billion (about $50,000) to keep silence about the fly. After more than one month of communicating and bargaining, the customer and the producer came to final agreed compensation of about $25,000. While handing the money to him, the company also contacted police, accusing Minh of blackmailing and property confiscating.

If it was several years ago, while there were a handful of Vietnamese people knew about social media, the scandal would have remained unknown to the public, and Minh would be sent to prison for attempted extortion. However, a piece of news about the notorious issue on Facebook immediately attracted thousands of views just hours after and being shared nearly across all Vietnamese Facebook accounts. Facebook pages have been opened to generate support for the boycott beverage products made by the Tan Hiep Phat company, with thousands of "likes" to date. In the meantime, approximately 50% Facebook news feed from Vietnam talk about the scandal, mainly about the notorious beverage brand with the inappropriate reaction with its customers.

Tan Hiep Phat and its supporters argue that the customer took advantage of the incident to threaten the business, making the latter unwillingly pay the money, that act is a sign of confiscation of property. In contrast, Vietnamese Facebookers and other consumers insists that it is the responsibility of the producer to compensate the customers if its products are found unqualified. More seriously, Tan Hiep Phat had broken its promise by reporting the case to police while it had agreed to pay the money.

The story hasn’t come to the end. Minh are still in custody, but traditionally, when a scandal is getting clamorously, it will be strictly supervised by all related agencies, and the richer, more powerful side (the beverage manufacture, in this case) will not likely to win easily in a customer’s right lawsuit as it used to be in Vietnam. And if Minh is lucky enough, he will be freed from jail and get $25,000 compensation, thanks to social media.

---- Trang DANG --- 

No comments:

Post a Comment