SINGAPORE - Huawei has begun to reach out in batches to 5,000 customers here who were promised $100 discount vouchers following its $54 smartphone promotion that went awry on July 26.
Almost 2,000 have received the vouchers via SMS as of Monday (Aug 19) and the rest can expect theirs latest by the end of August.
The vouchers are valid for a week from the day they are sent and can be redeemed at any of 10 selected outlets. Close to 1,000 customers have redeemed the vouchers so far.
With Huawei keen on preventing a repeat of the chaotic scenes witnessed on July 26, the number of vouchers sent out daily is carefully moderated based on expected customer traffic at its stores.
On July 26, thousands queued for hours at stores for the Y6 Pro National Day promotion, which offered the phone for just $54 to those aged 50 and above. But most of them queued in vain as the stores ran out of stock quickly, some before opening hours.
Police were called in to manage increasingly agitated crowds at several locations, and a 53-year-old woman was arrested for causing a commotion inside a Huawei store in Jem shopping mall when she was unable to purchase the phone.
Disappointed customers went on social media to vent their anger, saying Huawei should have made it clear that limited sets were available for the promotion.
Huawei announced on July 30 that it would give out $100 vouchers to around 5,000 people who had registered with the stores after failing to buy the phone after stocks ran out.
The voucher allows customers to buy the Y6 Pro for $48 instead of its current retail price of $148, but the voucher can also be used for other selected models such as the P30 Pro, P30 and P30 Lite.
To redeem the voucher, customers have to present the SMS, their Identity Card, and a QR code generated from a link in the SMS. Huawei began contacting customers from Aug 2.
Mechanic Salehim Aman, 53, received the SMS on Aug 13 and purchased a Y6 Pro that day from Huawei's store in Jurong Point.
He had queued at Huawei's Westgate store on July 26 for about an hour before his contact details were taken down. He estimated he was in the middle of the queue.
"I wasn't expecting Huawei to contact me and I was quite OK with that. The price for the Y6 Pro is also cheaper than in the first promotion, so I consider this a stroke of good luck." he said.
In a similar but separate deal offered earlier this month, hundreds of customers who queued at Courts outlets which participated in the July 26 promotion have also received $100 vouchers to purchase Huawei devices.
A Courts spokesman said SMSes were sent out to customers who registered with Courts offering the $100 voucher "as a gesture of goodwill to customers who have been inconvenienced".
Courts' offer is valid until Aug 31 and can be redeemed only at its flagship store in Tampines. Customers are required to show the original SMS.
Ms Minnie Kow, 44, received the Courts SMS on Aug 2. She had been among the large crowd at the Courts Tampines store for the Y6 Pro promotion on July 26, and had intended to purchase the phone for her father.
She reached the store at 7.45am, and estimated she was the 60th person in the queue. After about two hours, Courts employees emerged with an A3-sized piece of paper and asked customers to write down their contact details.
"I thought I was just buying hope. I saw on Facebook that many people who queued at other places said they didn't get the chance to register, so I feel quite fortunate I went to Courts," said the HR executive, who purchased a Y6 Pro with her voucher on Saturday at the Courts Tampines store.
She added that she had been monitoring the situation closely, as she believed Huawei "would do something to save its reputation".
Asked why only 5,000 customers managed to register, a Huawei spokesman said there were customers who were not aware of the registration, "as there was an overwhelming turnout during that time and our staff and the authorities had to disperse the crowd".
"We will definitely take those who were in the queue and did not get to register into consideration on a case-by-case basis," the spokesman added.