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Cookie bakery crumbles over fraud accusations

Sept 28,2018
A high-end organic bakery is shutting down and facing a lawsuit after it admitted it resold treats from Costco at outrageous prices.

The case has caused uproar for over a week among online mothers’ communities, as moms used to be the main customers of Mimi Cookie.

“The brand was sold at a high price and promoted as organic, handmade products… it’s a fraud case as they took advantage of mothers wanting to give the best to their kids. It’s going to be harder for me purchase products using the same message,” wrote one member of an online mom’s community on portal site Naver.

Mimi Cookie was started three years ago by a married couple. The company sold baked goods online and also operated one brick-and-mortar store in Eumseong County, North Chungcheong. It emphasized that its founders were both certified bakers and parents.

One of Mimi Cookies’ main retail channels is collecting proof from consumers and their permission to represent them in a lawsuit against the bakery. Nongra Mart is an online community where consumers can purchase directly from farmers or producers of handmade goods, like the bakery in question.

A Nongra Mart post from Aug. 20 pointed out Mimi Cookies’ cookies looked identical to those sold at Costco. The couple’s first response was that their similarity was due to similar ingredients. But as more consumers raised doubts and requested refunds, they soon admitted that the cookies were purchased from the discount chain. More accusations rolled in, and the couple eventually admitted to have sold ready-made mini tarts from Costco and roll cakes from local bakery brand Samlip. The price tag of Mimi’s repackaged versions were at least double that of the original products.

“The roll cakes were hand-baked at our store at first, but we made the wrong choice as the orders piled up,” said Mimi Cookie in an apology statement.

Claims mounted after the initial accusation, as the list of potentially ready-made products grew to include macarons and cream-filled sponge cakes. Mimi Cookie released a final announcement on Saturday saying they would close their business and offer refunds for the products in question except for the macarons and sponge cake, which they asserted were definitely handmade.

“The seller claims that the macaron and sponge cake were handmade, so we will prepare a suit over the products which will be decided after testing the products,” Nongra Mart said in a post. Nongra is preparing to sue the bakery over the roll cake, tarts and cookies.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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