Bait and Switch: Are Kate & Kimi Scamming Their Customers?
Expats across the city were up-in-arms today after an enterprising anonymous sleuth took to the Shanghai Expat forums to seemingly expose the online supermarket Kate & Kimi.com.
The forum member, known only by the screen name ‘anonymous7890’ posted his investigation into Kate & Kimi on Thursday morning and alleged that the online supermarket was “purposely misleading their customers.”
In his comment, anonymous7890 points out that Kate & Kimi’s highly trumpeted new salmon supplier Blue Coral Seafood Cooperative has several suspicious issues with their recently launched website. Most noticeable of all is the fact that the supplier’s website is registered to an address on the same street as Kate & Kimi’s offices, and that the page is allegedly registered to a Kate & Kimi employee (the latter fact we were not able to confirm).
The poster also points out that the website’s “about us” section uses vague information and that pictures of the three founders displayed on the page were in fact just ripped off other parts of the internet. Indeed closer examination reveals that the images used are of a professor, a retired professor and a member of the Board of Trustees at a retirement home.
A Frenchman, Scotsman and an Englisman walk into a fish market.
The Blue Coral Seafood Cooperative were quick to change their website, removing the images soon after the damming comment went up, but it was seemingly too late. Earlier today the Thundersharkz softball team’s WeChat account picked up on the story and sent it out to their followers.
Even a softball team is getting in on the slandering
Shortly after the post began to pick up traction Kate & Kimi’s website released an official statement apologizing and stating: “There is no intention, nor has there ever been, to mislead our community into buying products that are not authentic or good quality. We are acknowledging the fact that website created for this company (the Blue Coral Seafood Cooperative) was published hastily in its raw form, and we should not have linked to this site or launched the brand before thoroughly analyzing the content. This was utterly irresponsible by our designers and has led to much confusion and frustration. In fact, our web designer indeed sourced temporary images for the website which did not accurately depict the BCSC team. It was a complete mistake and we sincerely apologize.”
Kate and Kimi's official Apology
The online supermarket then went on to post certificates from a Qinghai fish farm as well as poultry provider, seemingly in an attempt to prove to their customers that the salmon and poultry they were being sold was coming from legitimate sources.
The Qinghai Fish Farm's Official Business License
However, it appears that Kate & Kimi’s team haven’t quite got their stories straight. In an exclusive interview with Shanghai Expat the online supermarket’s spokesman and part owner, Richie Gelber, claims that the Qinghai fish farm is just one of several sources the company gets their fish from. He went on to state that, although the images used on the website were incorrect, and that the text used in the “about us” section was written by the company’s web developers, the three fish specialists the company employs are actually real and that they help to advise Kate & Kimi on the best places to source their fish from.
Gelber later went on to apologize for the misunderstanding, stating that the mock website had not been fully completed and never should have been linked to. He also alleged that the mistake was pounced on “quite rightly” by his competitors.
The "shell" company's logo
One thing is for sure, many expats have been left with a salty taste in their mouth after this huge PR misstep (sorry!).
Disclaimer: Kate & Kimi as well as their competitors advertise with both Shanghai Expat and our sister publications.