Top Pot Bakery hopes refunds can make amends
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Top Pot Bakery yesterday agreed to a request from Taipei's consumer ombudsman to give full refunds as well as gift vouchers worth 25 percent of the amount for purchases made at any branch if customers can present proof of purchase.
August 27, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The bakery chain was recently busted by the Taipei City Government and Taipei prosecutors for adding artificial essences into its bread; the bakery boasts in advertisements that its bread is made with natural ingredients and zero flavoring essences.
According to the agreement between the bakery and Taipei's Department of Legal Affairs, customers who still have proof of purchases made between the day the bakery opened in 2010 to Aug. 23 this year can apply for refunds from now until Sept. 27.
The bakery said that those with receipts or credit card authorizations are qualified to receive full refunds with an extra 25 percent of the purchase amount in the form of gift certificates that will redeemable starting on Oct. 1.
As a gesture to customers who do not have proof of purchases, the bakery will hold a 10-day promotion with a 25-percent off discount.
Legal Affairs Commissioner Tsai Li-wen (蔡立文), however, said his department is not satisfied with this agreement.
“The Taipei City Government has always insisted on the bakery offering full refunds along with compensation that is three times the refund amount,” said Tsai.
“However, Top Pot Bakery said that its financial situation is not stable and (such a refund policy) might affect the livelihoods of its 600 employees, so the government and the company eventually agreed on a revised version of how to compensate consumers.”
Tsai said that if Top Pot Bakery customers are not satisfied with the compensation they can file an appeal to the Consumer Ombudsman Office.
Top Pot Bakery was revealed by a Hong Kong customer in a blog on Aug. 17 to be using flavoring essences in its bread, despite its marketing boasting of all-natural ingredients. In response the bakery argued that the flavoring essences they use are made from “natural” elements.
The Taipei City Government last Thursday inspected one of the bakery branches and discovered that artificial flavoring essences were being added to the bread. The city government later fined the firm NT$180,000 for deceptive advertising and handed the case to Taipei prosecutors.
Brand Ambassador Apologizes
Dee Hsu (徐熙娣, also known as Xiao S), who has served as a brand spokeswoman for the bakery, yesterday apologized over the controversy.
Top Pot Bakery has become popular partly thanks to advertisements targeting those wishing to eat healthy and all-natural products. It has also received a boost from brand spokespeople such as Hsu, whose husband is an investor in the chain.
Hsu said that the bakery should clearly inform customers with regard to the scandal and also cooperate with the ombudsman on how to compensate customers.
Bakery Head Sues Former One
Top Pot Bakery's current president, Hsu Hsun-ping (徐洵平), yesterday sued the company's founder and former president, Chuang Hung-ming, for fraud and breach of trust.
Hsu Hsun-ping said that his team took over the bakery on Aug. 19, a day prior to the controversy making headlines.
“I decided to take over the bakery because the bread tastes good and the advertisements said that the flavoring essences are all natural,” Hsu Hsun-ping said, “so I am also a victim in this incident.”
Local entertainer Dee Hsu (徐熙娣, also known as Xiao S), bows yesterday during an apology over the controversy surrounding Top Pot Bakery, with which she had served as a brand ...
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