On Thursday, consumer protection police warned popular TV host Patcharasri “Kalamare” Benjamas against postponing her appointment with investigators again after she failed to show up to answer their questions about claims she made in advertisements for her products.
Patcharasri, an entrepreneur, is being investigated by the Consumer Protection Police Division (CPPD) for allegedly exaggerating the quality of her food supplement products.
According to Pol Col Chanannat Santhawanpat, deputy commissioner of CPPD, she was supposed to meet investigators on Thursday but she postponed the appointment, saying she had to attend a meeting with the House committee on public health.
The CPPD investigators then issued a new summons asking her to meet them on 8th February, he said, noting that if she postpones the appointment once again and without a sound reason, she will face an arrest warrant.
Patcharasri’s case began after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lodged a complaint with the CPPD against her after she claimed her products can make people’s faces more firm and youthful.
She has also claimed they can stop the transmission of COVID-19, which the FDA says is an illegal act of exaggerated advertising.
Speaking at her meeting with the House committee on public health on Thursday, Patcharasri said she opted to skip the CPPD meeting because the committee gave her the opportunity to defend herself against the FDA’s allegations.
As for the CPPD meeting, she said she had asked her lawyer to deal with it on her behalf. Nitithorn Kaewto, the lawyer, said his client would meet investigators before the 8th February appointment.
When asked if she would carry on making her food supplement products, Patcharasri said that as an online trader and a business owner with more than 100 employees, she had no choice but to continue the business.
“I’m a new entrepreneur with good intentions to offer a good product to consumers, but I didn’t know much about the law,” she said, referring to the prohibition against exaggerated advertisements.
She said she previously did not know it was against FDA regulations to express “her feelings about the product” when someone asked about her appearance.
She has attempted to justify her claims by saying she was merely saying how she felt.
After she was accused by the FDA of exaggerating claims in her advertisements, she said she began studying FDA regulations and other consumer laws and realised she knew little about them.
Patcharasri said she proposed at the House committee that the FDA organise a training session for new entrepreneurs like her about laws and regulations they may need to know about, adding she learned a lot from attending the meeting.