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November 4, 2013

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Coupon mix-up irks Dianping customers

Some local consumers have lost their appetite for restaurant review website after more of its coupons were refused by eateries.

It’s the latest problem for the Shanghai-based website after a McDonald’s promotion soured last week.

The website yesterday said it had fixed a system problem that caused some customers to be unable to use coupons at outlets of Singapore-based Bee Cheng Hiang, which sells dried-meat products.

Yang Chen, a PR employee with, said the coupons can be used starting from this week.

Yang said the Bee Cheng Hiang outlets couldn’t confirm the validity of the coupons with via POS machines due to a system problem last Friday.

The website provided refunds to some customers over the weekend as customer service representatives were unsure when the coupons could be used again.

According to the website, more than 4,800 customers had purchased the coupons, which had a face value of 300 yuan (US$49.18), at a 30 percent discount.

Yang said the website didn’t release a statement about the system failure because it didn’t want customers to panic.

Poor management

Tao Ailian, executive deputy secretary general of the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission, said needs to improve its internal management and communicate better with customers to avoid such complaints.

“ was late handling the situation,” Tao said. “It should be honest with customers and inform them in advance next time.”

Last Wednesday, the website filed a police report, saying it was deceived by an unnamed party into selling non-existing McDonald’s promotional meal deals, causing a loss of 2.2 million yuan to the website.

It sold the coupons for 9.90 yuan, which it said could be exchanged for a meal set valued at 19.50 yuan at more than 700 McDonald’s outlets on the Chinese mainland.

On October 28, McDonald’s said it had not collaborated with and its restaurants would not accept the coupons.

The website provided customers with refunds and compensation after the McDonald’s announcement.



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