Tue, May 25, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Air Jordan's flight through puts Nike Taiwan in a spot

LATER, DUDES The star probably spent more time on Saturday tying his name-brand shoelaces than meeting local fans, prompting calls for a boycott of Nike products

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Internet bulletin boards and the Consumers' Foundation have been inundated with complaints by infuriated Michael Jordan fans expressing their disappointment at the the former NBA star's fleeting appearance on Saturday.

The fans claimed that Nike Taiwan had lured Jordan aficionados to fork out huge amounts of money for his name-brand line of sportswear, but arranged for the "God of basketball" to appear on stage for less than two minutes.

Many of the fans spent thousands of NT dollars buying clothes and footwear for the chance to win tickets in a lucky draw, with a handful even spending between NT$15,000 and NT$20,000 purchasing auctioned tickets online.

"Jordan is not the god any more," said a bulletin-board user nicknamed "hiahaok" on one of National Taiwan University's forums.

Another incensed fan, "airpenny," condemned Nike Taiwan, calling it a "legal swindler group."

Some suggested boycotting Nike products.

With an increasing number of complaints being made to the Consumers' Foundation since Saturday, foundation general-secretary Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) said it would collect reports from consumers and assist them in seeking compensation from Nike Taiwan.

"According to Article 22 of the Consumer Protection Law (消保法) and Article 21 of the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法), we can demand that Nike Taiwan respond with goodwill," Cheng said.

Article 41 of the Fair Trade Act provides for a maximum penalty of NT$25 million if the company is found to have violated the law.

The foundation is scheduled to hold a press conference today to answer the criticisms.

Faced with a flood of accusations, Jeanne Huang (黃湘燕), a Nike Taiwan marketing spokeswoman, said it was a great shame that they could not meet the expectations of customers.

"We are deeply sorry for this unsatisfactory result," Huang said, repeating her apology three times during a telephone interview yesterday.

Stressing that Nike Taiwan aimed to present the spirit and achievements of Jordan in a creative way, Huang refused to say who was responsible for Jordan's brief appearances -- Jordan himself or her company.

"Although most fans had to purchase Jordan's products to win the tickets, our company has not raked in excessive profits because orders were placed six months ago," she said, denying that the company had swindled its customers.

In compensation, Huang said 700 fans would be given a poster featuring Jordan and priority to attend the next event in Taiwan featuring NBA players.

Taipei Prosecutor's Office Prosecutor-General Morley Shih (施茂林) has also indicated his office may look into the case.

"If Jordan fans file a lawsuit, we'll start investigating," Chief Prosecutor Lin Pang-liang (林邦樑) said.

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