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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:12pm
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Marketing chain DCHL vows to refund customers HK$67,000 each

DCHL to return HK$67,000 to each registered buyer, but gives no specifics and makes no mention of paying back remaining money

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 October, 2013, 10:41pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 4:06pm

An Asian chain running a controversial multilevel marketing scheme in Hong Kong has agreed to refund its customers after a series of protests and negotiations, but has yet to give details on when and how it would do so.

Yesterday, about 80 mainlanders who negotiated with Digital Crown Holdings HK (DCHL) registered for a HK$67,000 refund each, said a member of an alliance against the health and beauty products distributor.

The company brainwashed me by saying that some people who used to be very poor made big money through the company
Customer Xu Meikwan

The alliance has organised several protests this month, claiming its members were tricked into buying products such as wine, jewellery, cosmetics and fragrances that had almost no resale value. They had to spend at least HK$67,000 each time, and some had made purchases up to 16 times.

Those gathered at the company’s Causeway Bay centre yesterday were asked to register and told that the management would decide later on when and how they would get their money back. The chain did not say if it would refund the rest of their purchases, said a man who identified himself as a volunteer with the alliance but not a customer.

“It’s totally unacceptable to me,” said the man, who wanted to be known only by his surname, Peng. “The company operated against the rules. But most of them are accepting this offer first. They have waited for three days, and this is a bit of hope for them.”

There were about 20 others who joined the previous protests, but they returned to the mainland yesterday, he said, adding that it was unfair for those who missed out on the registration.

At the centre yesterday was a Shenzhen customer, who wanted to be known only by his surname Zhong. He said he spent HK$300,000 on products such as jewellery and fragrances.

“The company persuaded me to join the business by telling us that I could never get rich doing what I used to do,” he said. “They told me a lot of people became rich in this business.”

Zhong said that to finance his purchases with DCHL, he borrowed money from his family, friends and even loan sharks. He had no idea how he would repay his debts, he said.

“Even if the company is eventually willing to pay me back all the money, it just cannot compensate me mentally,” he said, adding that some of those lured into joining the scheme were as young as 18 years old.

A Guangzhou customer, Xu Meikwan, said he also spent HK$300,000 on DCHL products.

“The company brainwashed me by saying that some people who used to be very poor made big money through the company,” he said.

The chain’s customers said they were recruited to become individual distributors during “brainwashing” sessions in Hong Kong where they were told they would be rewarded through a complex bonus system according to their seniority.

DCHL is allowed to operate in Hong Kong under a law that permits multilevel marketing, but such tactics are banned across the border as pyramid selling.

Video: Mainland Chinese protest against a Hong Kong beauty product company, claim to be cheated

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This article is now closed to comments

hkglogair
So many gullible and greedy people all over the world. If it's too good to be true....
They don't deserve to be compensated and I hope they can learn from this.
blue
These idiot mainlanders deserved to be fleeced; they were blinded by greed and should have known better. Besides isn't fleecing mainlanders pretty much one of HK's pillar industries?

Hats off to the police for maintaining order.
ninacheung
This kind of multilevel marketing is illegal in mainland. Didn't these people stop to think why? No, they had to come to Hong Kong to participate in "business" activity that is dubious enough to be forbidden by their own government. And then when they were had, they cry foul and demand compensation! They should just pay for their stupidity and learn their lesson...
StrippedPixel
I think everyone has a right not to be exploited by underhand practices. It may be 'legal' according to Hong Kong law, but it seems that Hong Kong is one of the few places that such marketing tactics are still considered an acceptable business model.
Anyway, it all went on across the road from me. Check out the pics on my blog if you're interested. www.strippedpixel.com/dchl-protest-hong-kong

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