E-commerce firm apologises for marketing stunt that mimicked government letters

The letter informed residents that they were entitled to Goodwill Disbursement Credit (GDC) vouchers amounting to $55. PHOTO: GAIGAI

SINGAPORE - E-commerce firm GaiGai has issued an apology after its marketing campaign used mailers that looked like they were sent by the Government.

Residents in Hougang and Serangoon received the promotional material - which came in the form of letters - in July, with some suspecting that the letters were trying to pass off as official government letters as part of a scam.

The letter informed them that they were entitled to Goodwill Disbursement Credit (GDC) vouchers amounting to $55, which could be used via the GaiGai app to offset the costs of buying groceries.

In a Facebook post on Monday (Aug 8), GaiGai clarified that it was not affiliated with any government agencies.

It acknowledged that its marketing campaign had misled some people, which some netizens have said is due to the use of a Merlion in the letterhead and the similarity in name between GDC vouchers and the Government's Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers.

CDC vouchers worth $100 have been given out to every Singaporean household to use at heartland shops and food stalls this year and last year, with the Government sending out letters about the disbursement.

The firm said in the post: "Rest assured we are not scammers and our $55 vouchers are indeed legitimate."

The vouchers were meant to help Singaporeans cope with inflation, it added.

It said: "We hereby sincerely apologise for any confusion caused to anyone during this time."

Serangoon resident Deweender Sharvin, 24, said he did not receive any of the promotional mailers, but found the marketing stunt distasteful.

He added: "It's not anything harmful per se, but trying to direct people to use your app when times are hard isn't the best way of showing concern for the community.

"Even though there's the prospect of discounts with the vouchers, they could have gone about things better, especially since there are so many scams taking place nowadays."

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