Huawei to give away S$100 vouchers to thousands affected by National Day phone fiasco

People queuing for the Huawei Y6 Pro smartphone . (Photo: Facebook/Xylvie Wong)
People queuing for the Huawei Y6 Pro smartphone . (Photo: Facebook/Xylvie Wong)

A day after Singapore’s consumer watchdog chief demanded Huawei be reprimanded for what he termed a misleading National Day advertisement, the company has said it wants to “make it right” by giving away S$100 smartphone vouchers to the thousands of largely elderly consumers who were turned away without getting a promised phone.

In a Facebook post yesterday, the Chinese phone manufacturer said it had underestimated the demand for its offer of a S$54 phone for those over 50 years of age, and had only 2,000 on hand, definitely not enough for the nearly 5,000 people who had registered for the promotion.

Huawei said it would contact those people within two weeks to provide them the vouchers.

The phone in question — the Y6 Pro — retails for about S$148 (US$108), meaning those who couldn’t score one on Friday can get about a third off the normal price.

“We are sorry for the disappointment and distress caused to our customers over the weekend,” Huawei said in its statement, adding that they didn’t “consider our customers’ well-being enough and should have been better prepared for this promotion.”

“Please bear with us as we will work even harder to ensure that such an incident can be avoided in future.”

The company had slashed the price of its Huawei Y6 Pro smartphone from S$198 to S$54 (about US$145 to US$39) in celebration of Singapore’s upcoming 54th birthday.

But Huawei did not disclose the very limited stocks it had for the promotion, leaving long lines of frustrated customers, some of whom had been queueing since dawn.

In a Facebook message posted Monday afternoon, the head of the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), Lim Biow Chuan, said the company’s advertisement might have breached the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act (CPFTA).

He went on to express hope that a “public reprimand” be issued to Huawei by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) — the statutory board that enforces the CPFTA.

In a statement to Coconuts Singapore, CCCS said it is looking into the matter to see if Huawei did, in fact, violate the law.

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