SHANGHAI – A consumer protection authority in Shanghai is investigating hundreds of complaints made against Lane Crawford by consumers who say they legitimately purchased products on the department store’s Chinese website, only to have the transactions cancelled.
According to the state-run People’s Daily newspaper, luxury products were offered on Lane Crawford’s website at a steep discount (up to 90 percent off). After customers had placed orders and paid for them at the listed discounted price, the Hong Kong-based retailer cancelled a total of 213 orders without explanation.
On June 9, a meeting was reportedly convened by Shanghai’s Baoshan District Consumer Protection Committee between Lane Crawford and complainants and on June 12 Lane Crawford supplied an official statement, now on the consumer protection agency’s website, which said a website systems error resulted in the wrong prices being listed and that they had temporarily taken down the site for maintenance.
“Lane Crawford encountered system errors impacting stock management of its online store in China following a major upgrade of its internal systems. The website was immediately suspended and we are working to correct and stabilize the system,” Lane Crawford said in a statement supplied in response to a request for comment from WWD.
“Monies for orders that could not be fulfilled because of system errors were refunded immediately. We have been in immediate contact with affected customers and the China authorities to resolve this matter to mutual satisfaction. As a gesture of good will, we have given an electronic gift card to those impacted by these system errors, and thank them for their feedback and patience at this time.”
Though the retailer doesn’t publicly release financial results, in an interview with WWD late last year, Lane Crawford president Andrew Keith said the company was seeing double-digit growth at its stores in Shanghai and Chengdu, while 2016 sales were flat at its two Beijing locations.
At the time of writing, Lane Crawford’s Mainland China website was still inaccessible.