A 23-year-old college student was recently sentenced to two and a half years in prison for defrauding KFC of nearly $ 31,000 in fast food by exploiting an order gap.
The student with the surname Xu first discovered the glitch in 2018 and not only used it to his advantage over the next six months, but also shared it with friends and even benefited financially from it. The Jiangsu-based student accidentally realized he could order free food by paying for it with coupons on the official KFC app and then immediately requesting a refund for the coupons through the company’s WeChat account. It was every KFC fan’s dream to have all that fried chicken to eat completely for free.
Only Xu was not satisfied with free KFC; He reportedly started reselling the coupons online for a profit and shared his findings on the app flaws with four of his college colleagues. From April to October, Xu caused economic losses to the KFC restaurant operator in China of more than 58,000 yuan, while the other four students lost between 8,900 yuan and 47,000 yuan. In total, the five companies reportedly caused over 200,000 yuan ($ 31,000) in economic losses.
As we all know, nothing good lasts forever, and while the Chinese media does not go into detail about how the five were ultimately caught, they have been tried and recently sentenced to prison for fraud. Xu himself was sentenced to 2.5 years behind bars and fined 6,000 yuan, while his colleagues were fined between 15 months and two years and fined between 1,000 and 4,000 yuan.
Photo: RealKina / Unsplash
The case sparked heated debate on Chinese social media. Many people wondered if using poorly designed software was actually a crime. The Chinese authorities argued that it was by comparing the actions of the students in the case with withdrawing cash from a broken ATM and storing extra cash. In China, such behavior represents an unjust enrichment and is considered a crime.
I’ll be honest and only admit that I would have benefited from this ordering disorder myself. Maybe not sell or share, but come on it’s free fried chicken and I’m only human …