Just in time for Valentine’s Day, users of a Chinese social app called Love Bank are complaining that false advertising left them hanging.

Promotion for the app, which allows couples to chat and play games in addition to other social features, stated that they could win RMB 1,000 (about $150) after checking in every day for a year. However, users said that an update in late January resulted in technical issues, making the check-in process more difficult and forcing some to give up on claiming a cash reward.

The app was released early last year by Shanghai Liaoliao Technology. The timing of its technical difficulties meant some users were on the verge of achieving their goal before failing, public WeChat account Ran Media reported (in Chinese).

A call from TechNode to the app’s customer hotline on Feb. 14 went unanswered.

One male user told Ran Media that he and his girlfriend failed to check in after trying for two hours on day number 330. After the January update, he claimed, check-in time increased from about one second to one minute. Three days afterward, it took between eight and nine minutes for the couple to check in together. A few days later, the system stalled for a couple of hours and he finally gave up.

Recent reviews on the Mi Store accused the app of “cheating” users. (Image credit: Mi Store/Love Bank)

Another user said he looked online for methods to keep checking in, including splitting his screen, using floating windows, and careful timing. “Because I know that if I want to get money from an app, I need to abide by its rules,” he told Ran Media. But he acknowledged that the sudden change, after months of promising a cash reward, has hurt user trust in the platform.

The discontent has spread to social media as well as app stores. In addition to complaints on Weibo, a recent series of one-star reviews in Xiaomi’s Mi Store accuse Love Bank of false advertising and cheating users. “It wasted over 200 days for me,” one commenter wrote.

Meanwhile, Love Bank’s official Weibo account has stayed quiet on the subject of netizen complaints. Instead, multiple posts on Feb. 13 to 14 feature photos of couples who apparently succeeded in winning RMB 1,000 from the app.

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

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