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Da Vinci refuses to pay penalty, war of words ensues

2011-12-30 14:11    Ecns.cn     Web Editor: Zang Kejia
Da Vinci denied it was purveying fake products and announced it will sue the SCIB over the penalties.

Da Vinci denied it was purveying fake products and announced it will sue the SCIB over the penalties.

(Ecns.cn)--Da Vinci Furniture (Da Vinci) has been accused of cheating consumers on product quality and "international" identity five months ago, exposed to the public by the media and left stranded in its own image crisis.

Shanghai Commerce and Industry Bureau (SCIB) announced penalties for Da Vinci on December 23 that included confiscation of unqualified furniture products and imposition of a 1.33 million yuan fine, reports China Youth Daily.

Da Vinci denied it was purveying fake products and announced it will sue the SCIB over the penalties. It "manifests the refusal to comply with the legitimate judgments made by SCIB," which appear on its homepage (http://www.Da Vinci china.com).

On December 19, Da Vinci opened its fourth store in Shanghai at Huashan Road and reopened the flagship on Zhenning Road after redecoration work. Da Vinci released a high-profile ad campaign, promoting a ditty which repeats "the new expo hall is here, and the truth about everything will come out." The store at Huashan Road delayed the date it planned to open its doors to the public because of embarrassment over the fake product accusations.

On December 27, a reporter from the China Youth Daily visited Da Vinci's flagship at Zhenning Road. The huge expo hall had no customers but several employees. One employee confirmed with the reporter that all the furniture is imported from Italy.

Exposure of fake ID

At the beginning of July China Central Television (CCTV) took off Da Vincii's mask regarding the claim its products are made in Italy. According to CCTV, Da Vinci placed discrete orders with a Dongguan furniture company, exported the products from Shenzhen and then re-imported them through the port of Shanghai. This manner of exporting and re-importing made it possible for Da Vinci to acquire Italian certificates for its products.

Besides that CCTV pointed out the furniture Da Vinci sold at exorbitant prices was not made of genuinely good wood as advertised. Some materials were found to be unqualified by the government department normally responsible.

Turning tough

Da Vinci held a press conference to save its damaged image at Beijing on July 13. In the spot light, the general manager Panzhuang Xiuhua shed tears while speaking of difficulties in business development. She admitted the company did have cooperation with a Dongguan furniture company but avoided answering sharp questions by media.

In the meantime, a letter of apology to consumers was posted on Da Vinci's official microblog, which stated "Our company modestly accepts the supervision of government regulators, the media and the public, and an internal investigation is underway." It later deleted this apology.

In September Da Vinci began to deny the accusations. In November, it criticized Guangdong Satellite Television for carrying an untrue news story against the company, and asked the TV station to make a public apology or else Da Vinci would launch an appeal to the courts.