Boombayah! DTI probes #Shopeescam amid K-pop fans’ outrage
Shopee Philippines is under investigation for possibly violating the Consumer Act, after alleged changes to a promo mechanics left over a hundred fans of a popular South Korean pop group seething in anger online and complaining of being “scammed.”
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez warned, “We will watch this closely,” noting the online mall should compensate fans, some of whom had allegedly spent more than P200,000 to secure a spot in a meet-and-greet event for girl group Blackpink on Thursday night.
Ronnel Abrenica, director for the Department of Trade and Industry’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB), said a resolution would be out next week in connection with the so-called #Shopeescam, a hashtag that trended worldwide on Twitter.
Abrenica said they had so far received 10 complaints from angry fans, collectively calling themselves “Blinks” or the fanbase of Lisa, Jisoo, Jennie and Rosé, the endorsers of the platform in South Korea.
Based on earlier mechanics, top Shopee spenders within a set timeframe would win one pass for the meet-and-greet, while the top 40 from the list would be able to go on stage and have an autograph with Blackpink’s members.
Abrenica, who had met with Shopee representatives on Friday, said 568 eventually made it to the winning list. However, an additional 116 fans also received notices they would be able to participate.
Abrenica said the promised tickets were eventually revoked for various reasons, including a claim that Shopee’s computer system had mixed up the list of top spenders.
“Our major concern is those who were notified. [Shopee] should have had a clean list before they [sent out notices],” Lopez said.
Abrenica said the probe would look into whether or not Shopee had indeed changed the mechanics of the contest midway without informing the DTI. Some fans alleged Shopee changed to May 25 the original June 1 deadline for all purchases to be made.
Abrenica said Shopee could be held liable for changing the mechanics alone, the penalty of which could reach P300,000.
He said the company could also be fined up to P300,000 for each complaint received.
Abrenica noted the company has already been making settlements to appease several fans who were left out of the list, including flying one to Thailand for a Blackpink concert.