Xiaomi launched operations in the United Kingdom earlier this month with the Mi 8 Pro, Redmi 6A, and Mi Band 3. In classic Xiaomi fashion, the Chinese phone maker held certain ‘Crazy Deal' flash sales wherein it claimed to offer a couple of its smartphone models at a price of GBP 1 or about Rs. 94. However, the units sold out in a flash, which is what usually happens when Xiaomi hosts these deals during festive sales in the Indian market as well. The development has created a furore in the UK market and Xiaomi UK has issued an apology for any kind of misunderstanding on the issue.
Much like what Xiaomi does in the Re. 1 flash sales in India, most frequently during its ‘Diwali With Mi' festive sales, the company planned to host these extremely affordable flash sales in the UK for launch. Renaming it ‘Flash Sale' from ‘Crazy Deal' is what Xiaomi believes generated anger amongst UK fans. Xiaomi made 10 units of its smartphones available at that GBP 1 price tag, and now says that UK customers usually associate the phrase ‘Flash Sale' with something that has more than 10 units up for sale.
“We can confirm that 10 customers have purchased a Xiaomi device for GBP 1. Of the thousands who clicked ‘buy' simultaneously, our system randomly selected the winners, and he or she should have been able to add this item to the shopping cart and pay for this handset at GBP 1. No changes to the T&C were made that impacted the promotion itself in any way,” said Xiaomi UK in a tweet clarifying the issue, adding, "@XiaomiUK would like to apologise for any misunderstanding."
The UK's ads watchdog has received a complaint and is deciding on whether to investigate, reports BBC UK. BBC claims that the fact that only a limited number of units would be sold in this ‘flash sale' was not mentioned on the main sales page. Instead, it was buried halfway on the terms and conditions landing page, the link for which was in the footer of the website.
A user on Twitter alleges that the script of the website shows that the Buy Now button on these products was set to automatically switch to ‘out of stock' without checking for stock limits when the timer went off.
The BBC report also claims that Xiaomi held a similar flash sale in Spain last year where it provided a total of 50 units at EUR 1 (roughly Rs. 81).