Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ask a Korean! News: Does Anyone Want an Air Conditioner from Baskin Robbins?

This really has nothing to do with Korean society or culture other than the fact that it happened in Korea, but just the image was too funny.

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BR Korea, which operates the ice cream chain Baskin Robbins, had its office equipment confiscated for not implementing judgment against the company for not keeping its promise made in a promotion.

According to Seoul Central District Court and BR Korea, on October 24 of last year Ms. Choi Su-Jin (37 years old, female, attorney) won a raffle through Baskin Robbins homepage, which promised a trip to Japan. However, the company delayed the provision of the prize, giving various excuses.

Ms. Choi, intending to travel during Christmas holiday, requested the company to fulfill its promise. The company refused, stating that the reservation was not possible during the peak season, and later added a condition that only one free night at a hotel was available, which was a condition that did not originally exist. In response, Ms. Choi noted that the conditions only stated that the prize could be used after September 2009 except peak season without specifying what "peak season" is, and requested two nights of stay considering that the flights operate to Japan every other day.

However, BR Korea continued its mocking attitude toward the consumer. The company inserted a clause stating that free hotel stay only counts as one night after the fact, and argued that the terms of the prize was one night stay from the beginning. Ms. Choi, shocked and humiliated from the company's stonewalling, filed suit against the company, and the court found in her favor. Judge Yoo Jae-Hyeon of Seoul Central District Court 2nd Department ruled that BR Korea must provide KRW 1,080,000 [= $ 1,000], equivalent to two night stay at a hotel and airfare. BR Korea elected not to appeal, confirming the judgment.

But BR Korea did not satisfy the judgment even after the ruling, which prompted Ms. Choi to petition for a compelled execution of the judgment. On the morning of February 11, the court confiscated four air conditioning units in the BR Korea headquarters, located in Seocho-dong, Seoul.

Ms. Choi said, "It was a serious problem for the company not to apologize after committing unethical deeds like fixing the terms and conditions on the web page after the fact." She added, "Promotion is a type of contract. I chose the legal action to bring attention to their wrongful attitude of disrespecting the customer's rights and acting like they were acting out of sheer generosity."

BR Korea stated, "We endeavored to respond to [Ms. Choi's] demands, but it was difficult to provide the two night stay because an airline was providing the prize. We attempted to settle, but Ms. Choi was not amenable." The company further added, "After the judgment, we failed to pay the amount in a timely manner because of the delay in the internal process," and said, "We recognize the fact that we did wrong by providing unclear conditions and changed the promotion terms in the middle."

(Emphasis the Korean's.)

배스킨라빈스의 굴욕…경품약속 어겨 ‘압류딱지’ (Dong-A Ilbo) 

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  1. Soooooo...why the AC units? Hilarious story, though. :)

  2. All their ice cream is gonna melt! Talk about putting the legal heat on...

  3. That's great. They took away all the air conditioners in February. Couldn't they have taken away something slightly more valuable, like a can of Dongwon tuna?

  4. I'm willing to bet that the negative PR from the Dong-A article will cost the company more than would two nights at a Japanese hotel.

  5. The AC at the headquarters. I'm sure she'll get paid by...oh, I don't know, say June? :)

  6. If they'd just given Ms Choi her prize they could have used her trip for even more cheap, good publicity. Geez.


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