SHANGHAI–The China Consumers Association, a state-backed advocacy group, claims up to 17 percent of promotions on major e-commerce platforms over the Singles’ Day sales period in November were misleading.
The association released the report on Monday to coincide with China’s newer and less well-known online 12.12 (Dec. 12) shopping festival.
According to CCA’s Singles’ Day investigation, which tracked product prices on 13 platforms over the period from Oct. 20 to Nov. 25, the main problems included falsifying original prices of promoted products to make discounts appear steeper, and selling products at prices higher than the advertised promotional price.
The government should take responsibility for price tracking using big data technology and should “severely punish price violations and price dishonesty” the CCA said in the report.
This is just the latest in a series of accusations surrounding the practices of major online retailers in China. Just prior to the Singles’ Day festival this year, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce met with major e-commerce players in China to warn against unfair sales and marketing practices. Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is currently investigating Alibaba over accounting practices, investments and how it reports operating data.
Alibaba sold nearly $18 billion worth of products and services during this year’s annual Singles’ Day shopping festival — a figure that trounces last year’s record of more than $14 billion worth of transactions for the 24-hour spending binge.