Xiaomi slammed over £1 phone UK sale

Chinese phone giant Xiaomi has been criticised after a sales promotion for its UK launch sparked a backlash online.

The company, which officially entered the UK market last week, advertised two of its new handsets on its online store for £1 each as part of a "crazy deals" promotion.

However it has now confirmed that only ten devices were ever on sale at that price, a marked difference to other similar campaigns run by the company which saw more devices available.

Consumers and phone fans were left upset, venting their frustrations on social media, with the UK's advertising watchdog saying it was deciding whether to investigate the company after receiving a complaint.

Xiaomi UK launch

In a statement, Xiaomi said it hoped the incident would not make customers avoid future campaigns.

"We've held flash sales all over the world since our first one back in 2013 as a way to give a lucky few customers a chance to get their hands on our smartphones at incredibly low prices," a spokeswoman for the company told the BBC.

"[This] was our first in the UK and attracted enormous levels of demand, far beyond what we were expecting.

"We're sorry so many Xiaomi fans missed out this time round but we hope they'll take part in future flash sales as and when we announce them."

In a tweet, the company said that it had held a lottery for the £1 devices, with everyone who clicked the buy button being entered, and the 10 lucky winners being drawn randomly. 

But one website user claimed that the code on Xiaomi's website was set to say the devices had been sold as soon as the sale began - without checking to see if this was the case.

However Xiaomi may still fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), whose rules state that consumers must be informed "clearly and in a timely fashion" if a product has limited availability.

"If the ad didn't include significant conditions and the terms and conditions were changed part way through the promotion, then that could potentially be a problem," said a spokesman for the ASA.

Via: BBC

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.