The thing about living on the Internet is that, especially if you’re a company, people will figure things out one way or another.
So the best advice is to keep everything as above board as possible.
But in this case, Xiaomi’s attempt at a promotional “flash sale” not only backfired, but it is also being labeled fake and possibly fraudulent in what can only be a debacle for the company’s marketing.
If you promise to have a sale, you better have a sale – otherwise, the Internet will figure you out.
Amazingly, the three models that Xiaomi had as part of the sale “sold out” as soon as the sale began. This means that consumers were left with a selection of other smartphones that were well above the £1 price.
No one bought a phone at £1. And that’s the problem with the whole thing. Because no one ever had a chance to actually buy one, the whole thing is false advertising in its purest form.
There were so many complaints from disgruntled consumers in the United Kingdom that the government’s consumer watchdog agency is now weighing whether or not to investigate Xiaomi.
Xiaomi, for their part, hopes that this doesn’t discourage customers from participating in future promotional events.
The company said in a release to the press: “We’ve held flash sales all over the world since our first one back in 2013 as a way to give a lucky few customers a chance to get their hands on our smartphones at incredibly low prices…[This] was our first in the UK and attracted enormous levels of demand, far beyond what we were expecting. We’re sorry so many Xiaomi fans missed out this time round but we hope they’ll take part in future flash sales as and when we announce them.”
Of course, the statement ignores the allegation that no one actually received phones at the magical £1 price.
Flash sales are a common tactic for Xiaomi which often relies upon volume sales of its products to turn a profit. The company is known for its flash sales in other countries which seem relatively less restricted than those the company holds in the UK.
The most damning evidence came from website users that analyzed the code powering the flash sale on the Xiaomi UK website.
But, as they said in their statement, they hope it doesn’t discourage people from participating in the future.
Yet if the Facebook commentary is any indication, Xiaomi has really done a disservice to itself as a company and isn’t really seen as credible at this point in some consumers’ eyes.
The thing about living on the Internet is that, especially if you’re a company, people will figure things out one way or another. So the best advice is to keep everything as above board...