6 June 2024

Customers who have pre-paid for buffet vouchers from the Japanese restaurant chain Daruma are being urged by a lawyer to file complaints with the Central Investigation Bureau at 3pm today (Monday), in a suspected case of consumer fraud, in which the chain’s social media has disappeared, the company cannot be contacted, the promised services have not been provided and obligations to its customers remain outstanding.

Ratchaphon Sirisakhon, a lawyer in Nonthaburi province and president of the social media-based Fight for Justice Club, said today that he is willing to provide legal advice to affected customers, noting that police cannot step in unless they file their complaints first.

He also urged the management of the restaurants to clarify why all their outlets have suddenly closed, without notifying their customers, warning that the management may face public fraud charges and prison terms if convicted.

He cited the case of the owner of a seafood restaurant, who was sentenced to over 1,000 years in prison because the court found him guilty of multiple counts of the same offence, which may be minor but, when added together, potentially amount to several hundred years.

Seven affected customers filed complaints yesterday with police, in Samrong Nua of Samut Prakan province, against an outlet of the Japanese restaurant chain, claiming that the outlet suspended services and they could not use their buffet coupons.

So far, more than 60 complaints have been filed with the police by disappointed customers, one of whom approached Ratchaphon for help, claiming that she had sold buffet vouchers from the Daruma restaurant to more than 30,000 customers in the past two years.

She said that she still has 2,628 unsold vouchers, worth 550,000 baht, adding that she has already provided refunds to more than 40 customers.

The Japanese buffet program, which costs 199 baht per coupon, was very popular among young consumers because the price was considered low and the food was said to be delicious, especially its salmon.