Shopee faces irate K-pop fans and may be penalised after controversial promo in the Philippines

Ecommerce firm Shopee could reportedly be facing multiple penalties of up to 300,000 Philippine peso (approximately US $5,800) after controversy erupted around a promotion in the Philippines involving a meet-and-greet with K-pop group Blackpink. Shopee also had to deal with K-pop fans in the country making ‘Shopeescam’ a trending hashtag on Twitter last week.

At the centre of the controversy was a meet-and-greet organised by Shopee with its regional brand ambassadors, popular Korean band Blackpink. Shopee had announced that 568 fans who had registered for the promo would get a chance to meet Blackpink, provided they spent over 4000 peso on the site during a stipulated time period. The top 40 spenders would get autographs and the opportunity to join the band on stage.

The controversy erupted when over a hundred fans who has been invited to be part of the meet-and-greet suddenly found themselves removed from the list. This resulted in allegations of the site having changed the terms of the contest midway, and having given precedence to influencers and those with social media clout over actual fans.

The controversy has resulted in an investigation from the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry, according to media reports. If found guilty of changing the mechanics of the promo midway, Shopee faces fines of up to 300,000 peso. In addition, it could also be fined 300,000 peso per complaint if it is found to have run a deceitful sale, said the reports.

The conclusion of the investigations are expected to be announced later this week.

In the meantime, Shopee Philippines swiftly moved into damage control mode. A statement from the company posted on Twitter said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to users and fans of Shopee and Blackpink for the issues involving the Shopee x Blackpink meet-and-greet today in Manila

“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. 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.”

This is not the first time Blackpink and Shopee have found themselves at the centre of controversy. Last December, a commercial starring the band was taken off air in Indonesia after it was deemed to be too salacious.


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