TikTok’s Hype House is facing backlash after fans discovered that the “free” branded silver chains they were selling had a pretty big catch.
The Hype House is a creator collective in Los Angeles and home to TikTok’s biggest celebrities including Chase ‘Lil Huddy’ Hudson, the Lopez Brothers, Addison Rae, and Noah Beck. 22-year-old Thomas Petrou is the house manager and responsible for the merchandise and marketing.
The “Hype Chains” dropped on Tuesday, August 11, and were being promoted Hype House members including Tayler Holder. The drop was announced by house manager, and man in charge of merchandise and marketing, Thomas Petrou, on Instagram. In the post, he simply said that while the chains are free, fans need only pay shipping.
Even Harry Jowsey from Netflix’s “Too Hot to Handle” appeared on the official Hype House Instagram page telling followers to buy the chains.
The website says that the 20-inch rope chains are worth $100, are silver-plated, and have VVS simulate diamonds. The Hype House is selling them for “free,” which sounds like a bargain, but within hours fans noticed that the shipping and handling fee was $19.58 for mailing anywhere within the United States.
Commentary YouTuber DefNoodles pointed out in a tweet that USPS should typically charge around $3.80 for a package of similar weight, and one-day shipping should cost around $7.75.
In addition, the website only allows customers to purchase one chain at a time. The small print says “If you want multiple FREE chains, make multiple orders.”
The creator community, however, is no stranger to merchandise and shipping scandals. In suspiciously similar circumstances, last year Jake Paul also promoted a “free” Team 10 branded chain where the website listed the value as $100, and also limited purchases to one per order. The shipping and handling costs per order turned out to be $14.83.
At the end of 2018 Tana Mongeau and Gabbie Hanna were caught up in a scandal around Kenza Cosmetics after they promoted make-up brushes which were being sold for “free”, and “all you have to do is pay the shipping.” Sound familiar? The brushes turned out to be worth less than $5, and customers influenced by the YouTubers felt they had been scammed.
It looks as though the Hype House is treading on familiar territory, but they have yet to issue a statement on the matter.