The Coffee Bean And Tea Leaf Vietnam - Lose customers' parking motorbikes and deny compensation responsibility
First of all, please understand the background of this report. The case is in Vietnam. As of September 2012, the SHi-150 is the chicest scooter in the market. The imported line from Italy is the most expensive, around 8,000 USD; the locally manufactured line is only around 4,000 USD.
By the way, it is common sense in Vietnam that the book value of an imported SHi-150 can be as low as 5,000 USD, as stated on the VAT bill, to avoid tax.
It is a painful experience for any customers at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Vietnam, if you finish your drink, walk out and the security staff tells you he lost your motorbike. Below is the detailed description of how they push customers around.
1-Normally, as a customer, you simply want to discuss compensation with the owner of the store where you lost your bike. However, the only contact you can get to at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Vietnam is their lawer; and as directed from above, this lawer denies responsibility of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and always refers you to the security company that they hire.
This is deliberate wrongdoing on the side of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, since the parking area is the public pavement in front of the coffeehouse, and parking is for free. Legally, it is the coffeehouse to compensate for customers' loss, not the security company it hires. Indeed, blaming responsibility to and pushing customers to the security is a common trick that many stores play to legally-unaware customers: http://phapluattp.vn/20130124110756456p0c1027/mat-xe-niu-ao-ai-moi-dung.htm
2-The security company in this case is Hoang Vuong Gia. Unsurprisingly, it is willing to take responsibility for its client. However, when the security buys insurance, they are aware that the insurance company may compensate them based on the low book-value price. In fact, the security does not want to compensate you fairly on the true purchase price or current market price of your motorbike, but it only wants to compensate you a very small amount based on the VAT bill book value.
3-At this point, everyone has a problem.
-The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has to find a way to pursuade the customer to point the finger to the security, and hope that you don't bring a lawsuit against the coffeehouse itself (which is the right thing to do).
-The security company Hoang Vuong Gia has to pursuade the frustrated customer to take his time coming to the Transport Police Department to retrieve the VAT bill (only the vehicle owner can extract it), so that it can claim insurance and use that paper against the customer when it comes to the compensation price.
-The customer must be exhausted now after comimg to both the coffeehouse and the security company head office a dozen times, but have always been denied access to the right person, blocked at low-level staffs, and has no way to discuss compensation. Instead, both the coffeehouse and the security persist that they will only discuss compensation once you get the VAT bill for them. Of course, they will pretend to be nice to you and pursuade you to retrieve that paper as doing a favour for them, so that they can claim insurance, and that they will not discuss compensation on that document.
4-The mistake that most people in Vietnam make is that they don't want to waste money and time to go for a lawsuit just for a motorbike compensation. So instead of suing IFB Holdings Ltd., the company that bought the franchise of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, right at that time, you may make the same mistake of retrieving the documents for the security.
5-As one could guess, both the coffeehouse and the security gets bolder at this stage.
-The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf lawer set up appointments with you but don't show up. They refuse to talk to you if you come to the office of IFB Holdings Ltd, because they are "busy in meetings". You can never reach their boss because "my boss is abroad and no-one knows when he'll come back". The only way to bring someone out for a conversation is to arrive at the store (not the office) and threaten to chit chat with other customers about the case. Staffs are free to show off disrespect and unprofessionalism then. In addition, the lawer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf now use meeting memos between you, the coffeehouse, and the security to threaten you that you already let the security involved by signing such multi-party documents (actually legally invalid because it s not the director of those companies who co-signed). This is to create a false perception that the coffeehouse has an upper hand in fooling you into agreeing in writing to point the finger to the security.
-Both the coffeehouse and the security will now use the VAT paper against you, only agrees to compensate 4,000 USD (half your purchase price of 8,000 USD)
6-Handing the VAT paper to them isn't the end of the world. In fact, in a lawsuit, the court will do another evaluation of the market price of the motorbike, which turned out to be close to 6,000 USD, supposed to be the true purchase price minus 20% depreciation. So in terms of the compensation value, I won the case at the first trial court.
7-The big problem is here: the Vietnamese court system is extremely inefficient. The case was filed in Nov 2012, the first trial takes place in Aug 2013. The defenders appealled it to the second trial, which was supposed to take place in Dec 2013. Even if you win the second trial, it will take another half a year to enforce the verdict. What's more? The appeal court may tell you to go back and re-do the first trial, if the judge at the first trial violated some procedures (likely for this case, not your fault but your are to suffer the time dragging). So I ended the game, and agreed on the understated book value.
So you see, that is the nature of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Vietnam. For your information, IFB Holdings Ltd., a shady Central American tax haven company, buys the franchise of a couple retail brands like The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Pizza Hut, and Subway under the name of its subsidiaries (artificial legal entities) like Viet Cafe Co., Ltd.
They run an American franchise with a bad Vietnamese mindset. Especially for this case, although I was a regular customer who came everyday, with a 10% discount card, the staffs know my face and what kind of drinks I ordered, they still enjoy fooling and pushing customers around.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Vietnam is denounced on the news: http://atgt.vn/phap-luat/201301/Ru-bo-trach-nhiem-den-bu-xe-bi-mat-164863/
and also http://www.webtretho.com/forum/f70/the-coffee-bean-and-tea-leaf-vietnam-mat-xe-sh-khong-chiu-den-1589457/
Besides, in other cases, the local police can assist you in bringing out the store owner to discuss compensation; however in such case like this where the store owners are "well connected", the local police is not on your side at all.
Watch out!!! These companies "lose" several pricey motorbikes a year, while people experience such loss maybe only once in their life. The general public is ill-prepared in most cases to deal with these unethical businesses.
A bigger problem for the society is that in most cases, the motorbikes are stolen by the store / security company themselves. They already got the insurance company to compensate, and can sell the scooters to make a profit. The links below are about a lot motorbike loss cases that spring up nowadays:
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- Motorbike Parking
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- Cafes, Restaurants and Bars