Eight citizens became the latest victims of mooncake coupon scams on the internet, losing up to an aggregate of HK$20,000.
Five of the victims have filed police reports, saying they were cheated out of between HK$400 and HK$4,400.
They saw coupons for Maxim’s lava mooncakes being sold on an online shopping platform Carousell, and made payments via a bank transfer. The coupons should have been mailed to them, but never arrived.
The victim who lost the most money, surnamed Wong, bought 20 coupons a week ago. She wanted to secure 30 boxes of mooncakes by last Friday to give them as gifts to family and friends.
She placed an order on the platform on August 19 at HK$220 per coupon, or a total of HK$4,400.
The vendor told Wong that if she transferred the money by 5pm that day, the coupons would be sent out the same night.
But when she asked the seller later that night if he had sent the coupons yet, he tried to stall by replying: “I don’t have enough time today. I’ll send them to you tomorrow.”
Wong asked about the coupons again the next day, only to hear other excuses. Then the seller started ignoring Wong’s messages. The victim tried to seek help from Carousell. However, she could not find its customer’s service number or address because the “contact us” page was “under construction.”
She then reported the seller’s account on Carousell, along with details of the scam and hoped the platform would take care of the situation.
Wong later saw another account on the platform which sells mooncake coupons. She then started a conversation with the seller, who refused to sell the coupons face-to-face.
She then realized the bank account given by the second seller was the same as the first, and called police.
Another victim also reported her case to Carousell, only to be told the platform allows its users to trade freely, and that it has no right to get involved in any transaction.
Maxim’s lava custard mooncakes have been a hit here and across the border, with coupons for redeeming the treats during Mid-Autumn Festival being sold online at a premium of more than 33 percent over the original price.
The bakery will sell the mooncake coupons again today at all its outlets, with a quota of five boxes per person. It calls on customers to buy from official channels.