Agriculture-focused technology platform Pinduoduo has recently become embroiled in a false advertising dispute on Chinese social media, after a web user participated in a livestream event purportedly offering the chance to obtain a free mobile phone. After the individual, who is a gaming blogger on popular domestic site Weibo, shared a link with his fans as required, but to no avail, Pinduoduo came under fire from allegations of misleading marketing.
On the event’s promotional page, users are offered free products if they persuade a large number of friends to join their purchase through WeChat, QQ or QR code scanning. However, after sharing the link to groups of more than 30,000 fans for two hours, the blogger still failed.
On Saturday, Pinduoduo responded that the blogger had received the phone eventually, and that not all the fans he invited participated in the activity.
The firm’s statement showed that the blogger initiated the event at 12:52 on March 17 for a Vivo smartphone with a value of 2,099 yuan. At 16:40 on March 17, the bargaining was successful, and the product was delivered to the blogger on March 19.
During livestreaming, the individual sent an invitation to groups with 30,000 fans. However, not all of these web users actually participated in the bargaining. As a matter of fact, the number of actual participants was even exaggerated to 70,000.
In April last year, Tang Jiangrong, senior director of the justice department within Pinduoduo, issued a response to similar matters, saying that they prepared more than 1,200 types of goods for the promotion, and have sent more than 7.09 million products to buyers free of charge. The original intention of this activity is to provide consumers with free benefits through inviting enough friends to click the link within 24 hours.
Regarding complaints that consumers had almost succeeded in bargaining but ultimately failed, Tang explained that due to the high value of some goods, only inviting several friends is not enough to change the bargaining progress. In addition, malicious plug-ins and participants who won rewards from initiators are important factors in the promotion’s failure.