A 23-year-old university student in China was recently sentenced to 2.5 years in prison after finding, and taking advantage of, a loophole in the KFC ordering app, helping him to swindle around NT$866,000 worth of chicken.
According to foreign media reports, the man, surnamed Xu (徐), discovered the bug in 2018 and realized that he could order food by using coupons via the KFC official app and then immediately asking for a refund via its WeChat account.
The student then shared this discovery with his friends and reportedly began selling the coupons online to profit from this loophole.
In the following six months, Xu and others caused around NT$866,000 worth of economic loss to local KFC stores. The scammer was later nabbed by authorities.
The university student was then put on trial and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for fraud and was fined around NT$26,000, while his friends were also sentenced between 15 months to 2 years behind bars along with NT$4000 to NT$17,000 fines.
However, the issue sparked debate among many social media users as some questioned whether it constitutes a crime to take advantage of a poorly designed app.
The debate also brought about Chinese authorities’ official reply which equated the situation to that of withdrawing and keeping money from a malfunctioning ATM machine.
In accordance with Chinese law, it is considered a crime as it falls in the category of “unjustified enrichment.”
This incident will certainly make anyone think twice the next time they discover a bug in a food-ordering software.