Adidas sport shoes. (Photo/Xinhua)
Shoppers across China have complained of companies offering more goods at a discount than they had in stock during the Nov. 11 Single's Day shopping week, reporting their dissatisfaction with Adidas for a failure to provide them with the discounted products they ordered, Shanghai's National Business Daily reports.
One man surnamed Jin from the northern province of Hebei told a reporter at the paper he successfully ordered a discounted pair of shoes online from the sportswear company at 12am on Nov. 11 but was later notified via text message that the shoes were sold out and he would be entitled to a refund. Another customer, surnamed Li, who placed his order later that evening said, "The seller insisted they have no responsibility for this, attributing the problem to the ordering system and will not offer any compensation."
Adidas offers customers only two reasons for cancelling an order: not wanting a product or making an incorrect order. Neither of the two reasons acknowledges the company's responsibility for the error, one customer complained to the paper. A customer service representative told the reporter that the inability to service the orders was a result of the failure of the ordering system to properly log the orders, denying they actually oversold products. The system also missed some orders entirely, they said.
The reporter found the some shoppers had experienced a similar problem with other well-known brands including Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo and Hong Kong women's wear label Ochirly.
The Adidas representative offered two solutions: either to give customers a gift or a 50% discount on other products already on sale.
Zhao Zanling, a legal expert, said it is common to see sellers unilaterally cancel orders due to a stock shortage. The problem arises from poor communication between the inventory tracking and ordering systems. However, it is also common for vendors to be aware of the shortage but to accept orders as a way of drawing customers' attention to their products. Zhao said this can be viewed as intentional deception.
Zhao Zanling 趙佔領