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March 27, 2012

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Group-shopping site's Sinopec deal under cloud

SINOPEC yesterday denied it has cooperated with a group-purchase website that offers discounted Sinopec prepaid cards after consumers suspected the site may be cheating them.

The website,, promoted on its front page that consumers could pay 465 yuan (US$73) for a 500 yuan prepaid gas card, with the cards limited to 23 cities that include Shanghai, Beijing and Ningbo. Consumers had to pay first, the cards weren't to be delivered until April 23 and no refunds were accepted, said the website.

Sinopec yesterday, however, issued a statement saying that it has never carried out any discount activities with e-commerce companies. It said the website probably violated its rights and that it may launch a lawsuit against the company.

The website explained that it merely bought cards from Sinopec to sell to customers, and the activity was to celebrate its second anniversary but not a cooperation.

Consumers, however, were still concerned because of Sinopec's statement. A consumer surnamed Qian said, "What if they are really cheating us? And we may not even have our money back."

Meanwhile at least 10 consumers are filing a lawsuit against, one of the country's biggest e-commerce platforms, for canceling an online group-purchase item that apparently was a technical mistake.

Last week, the website released several travel packages charging just 1 yuan each. Near 2,000 consumers booked them. But those customers received a text message later, saying they should seek refunds.

The website explained that the web pages were meant for internal testing, and that software engineers released them by error. The website said it would compensate consumers with coupons valued at 20 yuan, but those filing the lawsuit refused.


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