South Korean pop girl quartet BLACKPINK is easily one of the most popular acts from that country here in the Philippines today. Devoted fans of the group, called “Blinks,” would do anything for a chance to get up close to the foursome of Lisa, Rosé, Jennie Kim, and Jisoo. Pinoy Blinks thought they had their best chance when local e-commerce platform Shopee launched an online shopping promo that would give a number of winners the chance to have a meet-and-greet with BLACKPINK at the SM Aura in Taguig this past Thursday, June 6. What actually happened was so convoluted and disheartening that it is now being treated as a scam.
CNN Philppines reports that scores of Shopee customers are decrying the e-commerce service as having scammed them of thousands of Pesos in what was ostensibly a promo to meet the members of BLACKPINK and get their autographs this week. The mechanics entailed that Shopee customers spend a certain amount total in online purchases before a deadline, with the top spenders being given e-tickets for the event in SM Aura. Some last-minute mechanics changes and a suspicious system error resulted in many hopeful contestants not making the spending cut, or receiving an online ticket only to have them revoked later on.
Blinks in the Philippines who shop via Shopee were understandably very upset at the e-commerce platform with its dubious management of the BLACKPINK promo. A victim of the alleged scam noted that Shopee altered the original cutoff date for qualified online purchased from June 1 to May 25. As for the lucky contestants that got to the event in question, they noticed that the guests meeting with the K-Pop group were mostly celebrities and social media influencers, many of which were invited. The Shopee winners were also restricted in what they could do in interaction with the BLACKPINK members present.
Shopee itself has issued an online statement apologizing for the messed-up promo mechanics and the BLACKPINK meet-and-greet event itself. They explained that they took quick steps to ensure that “rightful winners” were informed to go to the event, and understand that their user base has been confused and disappointed by their handling of the situation. It is not quite enough for the angry consumers however, nor for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The Trade Secretary Mon Lopez announced that the department is already commencing with its probe of Shopee and its recent promo.
“The promos are registered with the DTI so that if they fail to deliver, the customer has a right to get back at the promo-giver,” Lopez explained. “Either they (the promo-giver) will give a refund or be penalized. We’re trying to find out.” The Secretary remarks that the DTI could release the result of the investigation a week after the scam was reported, to determine if a refund or sanction against Shopee is preferable action.
Image courtesy of Koreaboo