A young couple who registered 2,000 accounts on a wedding services website to win a top prize has won a lawsuit against the website which denied their prize on account of cheating, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court said yesterday.

The plaintiffs surnamed Yang and Xu were paid 4,000 yuan (US$634) in compensation by the website, which the court ruled was responsible for the loopholes in the rules of its prize competition.

The website held the competition between December 2010 and January 2011 to attract potential customers. Eight couples entered the second round of competition for free wedding photos and nuptial services worth 49,000 yuan. The couple with the most online votes would be the winners.

On January 17, 2011, the website broke down and online voting stopped, but Yang and Xu found the votes of two other couples were still growing. They complained to the website but were unhappy with its reply, the court heard.

In the next three days, the couple registered 2,000 accounts to vote for themselves and advanced to the first place before the deadline. But the website denied them the prize for the reason of unfair competition and held an offline lucky draw to decide the winner.

Yang and Xu refused to attend the lucky draw and brought their case to a lower court which ruled in the website's favor. The couple then appealed to the intermediate court, which said the website violated the contract by changing the competition rules without the couple's consent and must compensate them.

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