DTI probes Shopee for BLACKPINK event mess

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 7) — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Friday has begun investigating an online retailer that hosted a South Korean girl group's event, a Cabinet official said Friday.

Online retailer Shopee Philippines hosted the meet-and-greet for BLACKPINK that some fans have complained against.

"Iniimbestigahan namin. Siyempre kailangan i-protect 'yung mga consumers who participated in the promo. Kailangan maimbestigahan further kung saan nagkamali," Trade Secretary Mon Lopez told CNN Philippines.

Filipino fans of BLACKPINK said they were scammed by Shopee through its online contest that promised to give a chance to so-called "Blinks" or fans to meet their South Korean idols on Thursday. The Top 40 spenders of Shopee during the promo period were promised autographs from band members Lisa, Rosé, Jennie Kim, and Jisoo at the SM Aura in Taguig City.

A number of fans said Shopee changed the contest mechanics midway through the promo. They said in the initial mechanics, orders must be received by June 1 to be included in the buyer's accumulated purchase, but the promo period was cut short to until May 25.

Some also claimed they were notified by Shopee that they won a ticket after spending tens of thousands of pesos, but it was taken back by the company due to an error.

Lopez said DTI is looking into possible sanctions against Shopee or if a refund should be given to affected fans.

"Ang mga ganiyang promo, nire-register sa DTI para kung hindi na-deliver, pwedeng balikan ng consumer ang nagbigay ng promo. Either refund 'yan o may penalty. Inaalam natin ngayon," he said.

Lopez said the department is talking to Shopee. The result of the investigation may be released in as early as one week.

The e-commerce platform has apologized to BLACKPINK fans for the "confusing, disappointing, and upsetting" event.

"We hear your feedback loud and clear, and we understand that the event fell short of the high standards that Shopee users and BLACKPINK fans expect," it said in a statement.

Related: Shopee apologizes to BLACKPINK fans for 'disappointing, upsetting' Manila event