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July 22, 2011

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Big suit coming vs DaVinci

Twenty local consumers are expected to file a joint lawsuit against DaVinci Furniture Co Ltd to seek 40 million yuan (US$5.7 million) in compensation, the biggest action taken against the scandalized company.

Ten consumers have entrusted the Yingke Law Firm Shanghai to handle the case. They bought products from DaVinci at costs ranging from 800,000 yuan to 4 million yuan, the law firm said yesterday. Another 10 consumers are expected to join them during the next two weeks to launch the suit, which will allege fradulent overpricing of low-quality products by DaVinci.

"We have talked with the consumers," said Li Renzheng, a lawyer with the law firm. "They said quality problems emerged in one to two years after they bought the furniture, such as paint peeling off. They hadn't been aware of the problems until the DaVinci scandal was exposed."

Earlier, the company was accused of lying about where some products were made and of misrepresenting the material, as the extremely expensive furniture was made of high-density board rather than solid woods.

The company claimed that all of its pieces of furniture bearing Italian brands were produced in Italy, but China Central Television ran investigative pieces saying the furniture was in fact made in southern China's Guangdong Province.

Later, Shanghai entry-exit inspection authorities confirmed that 10 percent of the products "imported" during the first half of the year were in fact made in China. Officials, however, haven't yet announced any punishment.

The law firm said its branches in 14 cities on the Chinese mainland are contacting consumers outside Shanghai, hoping that the joint lawsuit can cover as many of the company's victims as possible.

DaVinci has set up an e-mail account,, for consumers to reach it. But the company still hasn't said whether it will offer refunds or compensation to customers.


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