2,000 phones for 27 outlets: Huawei decided on stocks for its chaotic Y6 Pro sale ‘based on historical records’

The police were called in to manage increasingly agitated crowds of disappointed customers on Thursday (July 26), many who had queued to buy the phone but were left empty-handed.
Lianhe Zaobao
  • Huawei has apologised a second time for leaving thousands of customers furious after a chaotic Y6 Pro sale on July 26.

  • It is now being investigated by the authorities for a potential breach of advertising and consumer standards.

  • The Chinese smartphone maker admitted it only prepared 2,000 phones for sale – but said this figure was double the total number of phones it had sold here before the promotion.

  • It is now offering registered customers a S$100 voucher as compensation.

Chinese smartphone giant Huawei has apologised a second time for a National Day marketing stunt gone wrong, admitting that it had only prepared about 2,000 handsets for a promotional Y6 Pro sale across its 27 outlets.

Thousands of mostly elderly customers were left furious on Thursday morning (July 26) after the smartphone-maker ran out of phones – even before some stores had opened – on the first day of the three-day sale.

A spokesman said that the number of handsets Huawei had prepared for the promotion were “based on historical sales records” of the Y6 Pro.

Business Insider understands that Huawei had only sold under 1,000 Y6 Pro phones in Singapore prior to the promotion.

Amid online allegations that some stores had phones sold out before opening time due to staff buying the phones, Huawei said it was not aware of any staff reselling the phones.

It added that it had allocated a different quantity of phones to each outlet based on historical sales records, with certain Courts and Challenger stores receiving about 100 handsets, while some heartland outlets received between 20 to 30 sets.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday (July 30) that it had “clearly underestimated” demand, resulting in “disappointment and distress” for customers.

“We did not carefully consider our customers’ well-being enough and should have been better prepared for this promotion,” the statement said.

The tech giant added that it would give the 5,000 customers who had registered for the phone at its stores a S$100 store voucher as compensation.

Business Insider understands the voucher can be used on any Huawei phone model.

The brand had initially promised that customers aged 50 and above could purchase its Y6 Pro phone at S$54  – a 73 per cent discount off the original S$148 price tag.

With the voucher, those who still want to get the Y6 Pro will only need to pay S$48 – which is S$6 cheaper than the promotional price.

Huawei said it was shipping a new batch of Y6 Pro phones to Singapore to accommodate demand, and since many customers who queued for the phone were elderly, would allow them to send a representative, such as their children, to redeem the voucher from stores on their behalf.

‘You cannot in good conscience run an ad with such limited stock’

The fiasco Huawei created on July 26 has been heavily criticised by Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) president Lim Biow Chuan, who felt the company breached the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act (CPFTA).

“Huawei should not have advertised to so many consumers about their sale of the phones at a huge discounted price, when they only have limited stock in their stores,” the Mountbatten MP wrote in a Facebook post on Monday (July 29).

Lim told The Straits Times that under the CPFTA, companies could not advertise products that they “did not reasonably believe” they had sufficient stocks for.

“You cannot in good conscience run an ad with such limited stock that it’s sold out even before your shop opens,” he said.

Describing Huawei’s advertisement as “misleading”, Lim cautioned that Singaporeans would remember the incident “with distaste and disappointment”.

Case has since contacted the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore to discuss the possibility of taking action against the Chinese giant, ST reported.

In a second report, it added that following multiple complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas) was investigating if the firm had breached advertising guidelines, which require advertisers to clearly state any limitations of the product’s availability.

Huawei has maintained that its sole advertisement on Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao on July 25 and a post on its Facebook page both contained the phrases “while stocks last” and “Terms and Conditions apply”.

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