A group of students are facing jail time after exploiting a KFC loophole that cost the company more than A$40,000.
The group's 23-year-old ringleader, known by his last name Xu, discovered the glitch in 2018 by accident while studying at a university in Jiangsu, north of Shanghai in China, The Independent reported.
In the ensuing six months, Xu rorted the fast-food giant of about A$12,000 by working out that he could get free food by using vouchers on KFC's phone app, then getting a refund on them through the WeChat app.
He eventually shared the hack with four friends and the group together carried out A$28,000 worth of fraud, according to the publication.
Part of their scheme involved selling KFC to friends at a lower price than retail, and making a profit by not paying anything, China's Global Times reported.
Police caught onto their antics however, and the group faced fraud charges which were likened in court to stealing money from a broken ATM machine.
Xu was ordered to pay A$1300 and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, while his friends were jailed for periods between 13 months and two years.
The case attracted attention on Chinese social media, where some argued the penalties were too harsh for the severity of the crimes.
Others claimed the blame should have fallen on the companies operating the apps, blaming them for their ignorance about possible loopholes.
The Xuhui District People's Court in Shanghai ruled the five members of the group used criminal methods to take advantage of data mismatch in KFC’s ordering systems and committed fraud.
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