If you checked Instagram on Wednesday, odds are you stumbled upon a picture of a woman wearing a red scoop-back swimsuit, lounging by a pool. Never mind that she's basically unidentifiable, since we can't see her face: Users were continuously reposting the generic shot for 24 hours as part of a social giveaway campaign launched by Sunny Co. Clothing, which makes the "Pamela" suit. Maybe you saw Olympic champion Simone Biles' Twitter plea for everyone to cool it with the one-piece 'gramming. Or, more likely, you came across the backlash that started as soon as customers tried to use the code Sunny Co. provided to those who participated in the campaign — only to report being charged the full $64.95 plus shipping and handling once the order went through, when they expected the code to cover just the latter cost, as BuzzFeed News reported.
"EVERYONE that reposts and tags us in this picture within the next 24 HOURS will receive a FREE Pamela Sunny Suit," the post read. The giveaway, which was sponsored by a "college marketplace" called Twazer, received an overwhelming amount of engagement almost immediately, as evidenced in the influx of red swimsuit images @sunnycoclothing is now tagged in on Instagram. (Hey, swimsuit season is coming up — and '80s-style one-pieces are back with a vengeance.) A few hours later, the brand posted a follow-up to its announcement with additional rules and disclosures, such as how it "reserve the right to cap the promotion if deemed necessary." Comments on both images have since been disabled. As with anything that goes viral, though, the memes imagining what the beach might look like this summer with everyone wearing the same gratis swimsuits — and what the situation at Sunny Co. HQ looked like in light of the mass reposting — flowed in soon after, as E! noted.
Girls this summer pulling up to the pool with their free "SunnyCoClothing" swimsuit pic.twitter.com/hNeXWNpslD— Karim (@karimtbe) May 3, 2017
Slight annoyance of having your feed totally monopolized by a single trendy swimsuit aside, BuzzFeed News spoke with various customers who felt duped by Sunny Co.'s campaign: Some people said that even when they entered the code given to them after participating in the giveaway, they received an order summary noting they had been charged the full price for the "Pamela" suit, as well as the shipping and handling, which was $12.98. When they tried reaching out to the brand directly on social media, the shoppers reportedly received no response. (Those who contacted Twazzer were assured that "everything will be sorted out," according to screenshots of the conversation provided to BuzzFeed News.)
"We’re both young companies and are a bit overwhelmed by the immense amount of interest in the product," a spokesperson for the app told BuzzFeed News about the payment errors resulting from the giveaway, which was being characterized as a "scam" by some on social media. "We’re very grateful to have such an amazing customer base and pledge to work with SunnyCo to ensure that all customers are charged what they should be and not more."
Not all the feedback has been negative, though — many customers who were successful at checkout also posted about their experience, even sharing the literal receipts to prove it. Even if you wanted to scoop up a "Pamela" suit for yourself, though, you'll have to wait a bit: The style is currently (and unsurprisingly) sold out on Sunny Co.'s website.
We've reached out to Sunny Co. Clothing for comment and will update our story when we hear back.
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