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Xiaomi apologies for UK 'Flash Sale' in which only ten phones were made available

During the sale, Xiaomi had made the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite and Xiaomi Mi A2 available for just one pound (~$1.29).

Published onNovember 13, 2018

The Xiaomi logo at MWC 2018.
  • Xiaomi held an online flash sale in the U.K during which it sold phones for only one pound (~$1.29).
  • However, only ten devices were made available for that price.
  • The company later apologized on Twitter for any misunderstanding caused by the sale.

Xiaomi has apologized for any misunderstanding caused by a series of ‘Flash Sales’ it held on its U.K. launch day. The web sale saw Xiaomi reduce the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite and Xiaomi Mi A2 price to just one pound (~$1.29). However, only a total of ten phones were made available throughout the four flash sales, causing some backlash among fans.

The BBC reported that since the sale, a number of complaints were made on the Xiaomi Facebook page and, more seriously, to the UK’s advertising standards watchdog.

The exact number of devices that would be available was not mentioned on the offer’s sales page — although, it could be found in the terms and conditions. Here Xiaomi explained that three devices would be available in each of the first two sales, and two would be available in each of the second two sales. However, the BBC said the company only added these figures to the terms and conditions on the day before the sale.

Xiaomi flash sale

There was also controversy surrounding how Xiaomi selected the sale’s ‘winners.’ A Twitter user discovered that Xiaomi’s website showed the handsets as being sold out immediately following the sale, raising a question as to whether they had sold any units at all.

@XiaomiUK_ Your promotion for the £1 phone was a scam. Looking at the logic and browser requests, there are no calls to check stock limits, you simply swap the text to show ‘out of stock’ once the timer expired.
— Phil Williams (@phil_williams81) November 9, 2018

Xiaomi U.K. sales manager Wilkin Lee subsequently weighed in, writing on Twitter: “Of the thousands who clicked ‘buy’ simultaneously, the tie-breaker is done by selecting the winners randomly. Winners will access inventory to add to cart and proceed, which is why there was no call to check stock limit on the page.”

However, this was yet another poorly explained aspect of the sale, as Xiaomi’s terms and conditions page said winners are selected on a “first come, first serve” basis, not by lottery.

Xiaomi’s response

In a statement on Twitter, Xiaomi apologized saying that it did not realize people in the U.K. would associate the term ‘Flash Sale’ with a type of sale where “more than 10 devices were available.”

Reactions to the apology on Twitter were mixed. While some criticized the company for being too vague in regards to the terms of the deal, others suggested that the company’s phones are more important than its PR.

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The phones that were available for one pound were the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite and the Xiaomi Mi A2. The Mi 8 Lite currently costs 249 pounds (~$320), while the Mi A2 is 259 pounds (~$333.59) on the Xiaomi U.K. website. In total, twelve different smartphone models are currently available on the company’s site in the U.K.

Xiaomi often employs flash sales to drum up interest for its devices and they often sell out in seconds. However, the company usually claims to have more than just ten devices available for sale.

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