Your purse is empty and your credit cards have been maxed out; you’re still feeling the effects of Singles Day 2014 but you feel like you have done well and grabbed a bargain. For many, however, it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, according to the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission: “Spurious promotions, bogus discounts and poor after-sales service were the major complaints lodged by online consumers during this year’s shopping bonanza.”
November 11 is known in China as Singles Day, an annual event for which online retailers slash prices, and China’s shoppers treat themselves to discounted goodies. Popularized by Alibaba in 2009, Singles Day has become wildly popular all over the country. As Forbes reported, this year Singles Day hit record spending: $9.3 billion (57.1 billion RMB) – the site recorded $2 billion in gross merchandise value within the first hour, the spending equivalent of what it accomplished in almost 9 hours last year- representing an outstanding 60% increase from last year’s $5.8 billion.
But with such a vast shopping spree, vast numbers of complaints must also follow – the watchdog received 1,432 complaints from November 11 to 20, of which 183 were specifically about the November 11 event. Several people complained that vendors raised prices before the event in order to offer “discounts” on the day. But in many cases, the discount prices were higher than the original ones.
The commission also went on to say that they received “715 complaints related to express delivery services last month, an increase of about 120 percent from last year”. Delays, damage to packages and poor service were among the top complaints. Several firms, in their haste to get packages delivered on time, paid scant attention to their care and many also refused to compensate people whose goods were damaged in transit.
Image courtesy of Yibaba