DTI investigating Shopee amid outrage from Blackpink fans

K-pop girl group

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has bagan investigation into complaints that online marketplace Shopee Philippines having changed its mechanics and failed to deliver the promised meet-and-greet with K-pop girl group Blackpink for top spenders on the platform.

Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo stated yesterday the DTI’s Fair-Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) summoned Shopee Philippines’ representatives to answer the complaints.

FTEB director Ronnel Abrenica said the agency received 10 complaints from buyers who were notified by Shopee that they had qualified for the meet-and-greet with Blackpink but were removed from the list of winners.

He noted Shopee informed DTI that 116 shoppers who were notified they qualified for the meet-and-greet were removed from the list as the platform’s system showed there were others who made higher amount of purchases on the site.

“Our major concern is those who were notified… Shopee should have a clean list first before they notified shoppers they qualified for the promo,” he stated.

Under Shopee’s promotional, where a total of 568 users who spend the most amount on the online shopping platform would get a pass to attend the meet-and-greet event with Blackpink at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura set last Thursday.

To qualify as a top spender, the shopper must have a minimum accrued spend of P4,000 for the period of May 11 to 25.

For the orders to be counted in the buyer’s total accumulated spend, proof of purchase must be received and completed by June 1.

Abrenica stated there were also complaints of changes in the mechanics of the promo.

While DTI’s approved promo mechanics had June 1 as the deadline for submission of proof of purchase, he said some consumers claimed Shopee changed the cut-off date to May 25.

He noted that the DTI should be able to determine by next week if Shopee changed the mechanics of the promo without informing the agency and if formal charges should be filed.

If it is found Shopee changed the mechanics which is a violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines, he added the online shopping platform would face a maximum penalty of P300,000.

Shopee may also be smacked with a penalty of P300,000 per complainant if it is found to have committed deceitful sale.

“They are settling it. They told us they are reaching out to those removed from the list,” Abrenica stated.

He added Shopee said it is flying someone to Thailand to watch Blackpink in concert as a form of compensation.

We will watch this closely,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez stating Shopee should recompense all aggrieved parties and implement a program to settle all complaints.

Disappointed fans took their complaints to flock over social media, #Shopeescam was among the trending topics on Twitter yesterday.

Shopee apologized to users and fans stating, “The event fell short of the high standards that Shopee users and Blackpink fans expect, and we hear our community’s feedback loud and clear.”

Shopee added. “Although we took immediate steps as soon as we discovered our errors to ensure the rightful winners of our contest could claim their prizes, we know that the entire process caused confusion, disappointment and upset for many Shopee users and Blackpink fans. We are reaching out to all those affected by this issue, and we are also taking steps to ensure that such an incident does not occur again in the future.”

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