China's Mingbike sued for leaving over 30,000 riders with empty wallets

china's mingbike sued for failure to refund
A woman rides a bicycle past shared bikes at a hutong in Beijing, China November 17, 2017 Reuters

Chinese bike-sharing service Mingbike may no longer be operating but authorities have not stopped chasing after the company for leaving more than 30,000 customers unrefunded.

Guangdong Consumer Council (GCC) on Monday, November 18 filed a civil action against Mingbike for failing to refund the 199 yuan (US$30) deposits of its riders. Company officials shut down Mingbike in November, laying off all its workers.

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"Mingbike failed to return deposits as it had promised on its app, and neither did it put users' deposits into a separate account for management," said Chen Wenyuan, a lawyer from F&P law firm representing the plaintiff, in a statement.

More than 30,000 riders have lodged complaints against the Guangzhou-based bike-sharing platform. According to SCMP, they are now calling the board of Mingbike to immediately issue refunds, to set up a third-party dedicated account for deposit management and to eliminate deposits for new users.

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"The deposits consumers put down for rental activities are their own property. No company shall have the right of disposal. They should be refunded immediately once the renting is completed," read GCC's letter.

Mingbike has been silent and "irresponsive", according to GCC. The company's last post on Weibo was in early October, while its WeChat account has not been updated since November 10.

This article was first published on December 19, 2017