Several package delivery companies in China were reportedly discovered to be engaged in illegally selling ’empty’ packages to manipulate their e-commerce sales statistics.
The practice called “empty package scalping” involves shop owners on online merchant sites like Taobao who deliver fake packages using “empty package” delivery services to fraudulently boost sales figures, reported E27 (via The Beijing News).
Victims of such scheme would allegedly receive multiple fake packages filled with useless random stuff such as pieces of toilet paper, shredded paper and others. The offending shop owners use people’s personal information that were obtained from leaked data online.
In some cases, victims would receive packages marked as “Already inspected”, notifying couriers that they’re fake and actual delivery is unnecessary.
The scam has reportedly started at least in 2013 and is already well-known within the package delivery sector. The investigative report implicated five package delivery companies: STO Express, YT Express, ZTO Express, Best Express, and Yunda.
STO Express released a public statement addressing the issue:
“The ’empty package scalping’ incident has shocked us,” the company said. “As one of the largest courier companies in the industry, we cannot be excused for the inadequate management and poor supervision that has been revealed by the ‘scalping’ incident. To our customers and friends, we offer our sincere apologies.”
The company further committed in its website to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy and promised to work with Chinese authorities in its investigation on the matter.
The CTO of Alibaba’s logistics affiliate, Cainiao stated on Sunday that the company was already working alongside government officials and delivery companies to further look into the groups involved with “package scalpers.”