Ofo, a bankrupt bike-sharing platform, has recently faced criticism on Chinese social media for its deposit refund routines. The function was later deleted by the firm.
Some netizens reported that the Ofo app launched a function reading “recruiting friends and refunding the deposit,” saying that “the more friends you invite, the faster the deposit will be refunded, without capping.” In addition, there are “friend order rewards” and “10 yuan ($1.6) special recharge,” among other functions.
“If you really have money to refund, it’s fine, but the refund of the deposit line is nowhere in sight, and you have to pull people into the pit. Is this attracting friends or enemies?” one netizen commented.
Ofo has been absent from the field of bike-sharing for quite some time. In 2018, the platform was reported to have broken its capital chain, encountering difficulty in refunding deposit and carrying out layoffs. Today, there are still tens of millions of users whose deposits have not been refunded.
According to data in the Ofo app, as of November this year, there are still at least 13.76 million people waiting for their deposits to be refunded. Calculated according to the lowest level of 99 yuan, the total value of all deposits to be refunded is at least 1.36 billion yuan. There are also many users who report that compared with June, the ranking has not been changed at all.
Previously, Ofo launched many measures to refund the deposits, all of which were questioned by netizens. In 2018, Ofo cooperated with PPMoney, an online lending platform. Users can upgrade the 99 yuan deposit to PPMoney’s 100 yuan specific assets, and can apply for exit after locking the assets for 30 days. PPmoney immediately cancelled the cooperation after this move triggered dissatisfaction from users.
In 2019, the Ofo app launched the function of “returning money every day.” After rough calculation, a user would need to spend about 1,500 yuan to get back the deposit of 99 yuan. Once users participate in the activity, their deposit will be transferred to the account related to the activity. They cannot ask to refund the deposit by queuing in the app.
Since the storm of Ofo’s deposit refunds controversy, its affiliated company has been listed as a judgment debtor many times.
On September 27 this year, Dongxia Datong Company was listed as a judgment debtor by the Haidian District People’s Court of Beijing. According to data on enterprise information inquiry platform Qichacha, the company has been listed as a judgment debtor 43 times. As early as June, the company was found to possess no executable funds.