Bankruptcy-Haunted Missfresh Empties Products and User Balance in App
Nasdaq-listed Chinese retailer Missfresh seems to be on the verge of bankruptcy. On September 13, Chinese media outlet Sina Tech reported that all product information on the Missfresh app has been emptied out by the firm, and many user balances now display ‘0’. Regarding this issue, the company responded that there have been some failures in the system servers, and staff are making every effort to recover the data.
Since July 27 of this year, the on-demand Distributed Mini Warehouse (DMW) business of Missfresh has been shut down across China. Since then, many products labelled “next-day delivery” for several large cities are now being shown as “out of stock.” According to a report by Jiemian News, at present, the several “next-day delivery” products found on the Missfresh APP have disappeared, and all categories are out of stock.
As the app does not currently support placing orders, the balances of many users could not be used for purchases. Since July 28, consumer complaints related to “Missfresh Refund” have appeared on Black Cat Complaint, a service for customers to file complaints in China. As of September 13, all complaints related to refunds on Missfresh launched after July 28 are in the state of “processing”, and none of them have been completed.
In view of the difficulty for consumers to refund their fees, the Beijing Consumers Association scheduled a meeting with the Beijing-based grocery delivery platform on August 4, asking the company to handle consumer complaints properly. The firm responded that it had fed back the rectification plan to the organization.
Missfresh said that consumers can feedback questions through its customer service hotline and the app. After dialing the customer service hotline, the firm’s staff said that the balance recharged by the user can be registered for refund, but the balance generated by gift cards does not support refund for the time being. At the same time, because the system is being updated, the time needed for a refund to be processed cannot be guaranteed after registration.
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In addition to consumers, former employees of the company have also had the problem of safeguarding their rights. On July 28, through an online meeting, the firm announced the end of working hours for many employees and a delay of some employees’ wages. At that time, according to the laid-off employees, the company still owed wages for the months of June and July, and the social insurance of the employees in May, June and July had also been cut off.
Suppliers payments are not looking too rosy either. A Missfresh aquatic product supplier has entrusted a local law firm to sue Missfresh in April this year. After mediation by the court, Missfresh promised to pay in three phases within nine months. The latest payment date is July 29, but up to now, the supplier has not received any payment.
As for the remaining business lines of Missfresh, the Bianligou, a vending machine business, has been sold to Shenzhen Daily Convenience Technology at a price of 30 million yuan ($4.38 million), while the smart food market and retail cloud businesses have not seen profits and still need more investment. Users can not place next-day delivery orders or 30-minute-delivery orders. Many former employees of Missfresh said that the emptying of products in the app and user balance may be caused by the fact that no one is operating the firm internally.