The future of French internet wine company 1855.com is looking increasingly perilous as its detractors become more and more vociferous.
In the last few months 1855.com has been accused of fraud by French TV and named in a series of unfavourable court judgments; its site has been threatened with closure and its share price has dropped as low as €0.03.
This month an anti-1855 protest association has been formed.
At the beginning of August TV channel France2 ran a news item about 1855.com under the headline ‘arnaque’ (fraud).
Reporting on the growing number of legal complaints against 1855.com, it said one disgruntled customer has asked the courts to close down the site. The hearing takes place in Paris on 27 September.
In mid-July a Bordeaux court ordered 1855 to pay €50 a day to a client who in 2009 had ordered Chateau Lafite and Chateau Latour, both 2008s, expecting delivery last year but receiving nothing.
This month Abus 1855.com was officially recognised as an association. It has been set up by dissatisfied customers of 1855.com and its associated companies Cave Privée and Chateauonline, which were acquired by 1855.com in 2010 and 2011.
The object of the association is to assist clients of 1855 to pursue the company as well as dissuade new customers.
The French government agency Brigade Interrégionale d’Enquête Vins et Spiritueux (BIEV) is actively pressurising 1855.com to reimburse customers who have not received wine they have ordered.
1855.com’s troubles have hit its share price. Shares are now trading at between €0.03- €0.04 on the Paris Bourse. Five years ago they hit a high of €5.00 a share.
Written by Jim Budd