Tencent’s social app WeChat issued a notice on Thursday regarding the progress of its rectification efforts for the enforced following of accounts while ordering at restaurants. According to the company the job is 95% done.
For quite a while now, when users dine in a restaurant, they usually need to scan a QR code in order to access the menu. By doing so, however, they often have to then follow the official WeChat account of the restaurant with no choice to opt out. The practice has been regarded by many people as an impingement on the rights of consumers.
The Shanghai Consumers Council agreed and has proposed that when customers scan to order, little, if any, personal information should be passed through. Further, restaurants should also provide alternative manual ordering options.
In December last year, Tencent issued a notice to official account developers, requesting them to look into an issue whereby consumers are required to follow official WeChat accounts in when ordering through QR codes at restaurants. According to the notice, the platform is reminding developers to check whether there are any related problems and ensure that the customer experience is an overall positive experience.
During this rectification, WeChat provided an option to developers to follow official WeChat accounts with one click through the available mini programs, thus allowing users to decide whether or not to follow an official WeChat account after ordering.
In addition, in order to prevent merchants who have already adopted WeChat payment from shelling out a huge amount of money to replace the original ordering codes, the platform is also providing a new mini program interface for merchants. When the user scans the original ordering code, the app will directly jump to the restaurant’s mini program. The result is that the restaurant does not need to change any original settings and can thus reduce the cost of fixing the issue.
After several months of repair, most accounts have been upgraded. As for the remaining 5%, WeChat admitted that it is difficult to check through a proactive investigation.
For this reason, WeChat has added an exclusive complaint channel. Users can now complain if they encounter merchants who force them to follow an account after ordering through a QR code.