Pattaya Daily News

12 November 2012 :: 17:11:12 pm 68403

Ailing California WOW Club Facing Criminal Charges

The nearly bankrupt California Wow Xperience company is facing criminal prosecution in addition to civil lawsuits seeking nearly 100 million baht. The case is being examined by the Department of Special Investigation for consumer fraud. The company is in bankruptcy reorganization.
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BANGKOK – November 11 [Pattaya Daily News]; a spokesman for the consumer protection agency said the fitness firm California WOW Xperience may be liable for criminal prosecution, because of the large number of customers filing complaints and the amounts of money involved.

More than 600 irate customers have filed complaints, and 300 of them are seeking monetary compensation that could total more than 20 million baht, said Mr. Jirachai Multhongroy, the general secretary of the Office of the Consumer Protection Board of Thailand (OCPB).

In addition, there are also lawsuits from Thai banks seeking to collect $72 million in loan repayments. With another $3.97 million in interest, creditors are seeking nearly $76 million from the ailing fitness company. California Wow has filed for bankruptcy reorganization, which was granted by the court. The company shut down all but two branches as it struggles to survive.

Mr. Jirachai said the OCPB had a recent meeting of the law bureau of consumer protection regarding complaints by consumers. Many said they had suffered from the closing of California WOW branches. They had paid costly long-term membership fees and want to recover their money.

The branch closings are also an issue in the lawsuit that the OCPB has filed against the company. During the preparing of gathering information by the law bureau of the consumer protection agency, they had also co-operated with the criminal prosecutor, Mr. Jirachai said.

“For the commercial case, we will sue the company with the consumers, but for the criminal case of defrauding people, we have sent the case to Mr. Tharit Pendit, the president of the Department of Special Investigation, under the policy of OCPB,” Mr. Jirachai said. “Then we will follow the application of rehabilitation and compensation to consumers closely.”

Category : Business News

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