Almost 2,000 people gathered in front of the head office of the bike-sharing giant Ofo in Beijing on Tuesday morning to find out if – and when – their loan for bicycles will be returned. Ofo, one of China’s leading bike-sharing companies, said on Monday that requests for reimbursement will be processed in the order received due to the increasing number of claims. The company asked people for patience.
The company had 200 million users in November last year, so their pledge could reach up to 20 billion yuan. At 9:30 am on Tuesday, a large number of users were in front of the company’s headquarters in Beijing’s Zhongguancun District who still had doubts about Ofo’s assurances. Zhang Na, a 50-year-old Beijing woman, said she had asked for a refund of her pledge for about two months, but had not received it. After waiting in line for nearly two hours, Zhang still did not receive her pledge because the company said her account had a deficit. „I did not speak to the company’s employees,“ she said. The situation at Ofo was out of control and even a heated argument between workers and customers had broken out.
On Tuesday at 17:00, the Ofo app reimbursement system showed that more than 9.7 million users were waiting for reimbursements, with the sum total amounting to at least 920 million yuan. An employee of the company’s security department, who did not want to be named, said requests for reimbursement should be posted online, as the company does not accept applications at headquarters, even though people might be asking questions. Ofo’s offices in Jinan, Shandong Province and Xi’an, Shaanxi Province were cleared last month, China Central Television reported Monday. This led to fear among people who thought the company was on shaky ground.
Zhu Wei, associate professor of law at the Chinese University of Law and Political Science, said the loaner’s loan should be monitored throughout the process. „There are not enough regulations at the moment,“ Zhu said. It was necessary to set up an industry association to oversee the use of pledge. Regarding the current situation, Zhu said it was partly due to the company’s scarce resources. How to overcome these difficulties is the main problem that Ofo should focus on.
Last August, a Ministry of Transport’s guide suggested that the use of pawns for rental bikes should be tightly restricted. The use of pledge should also be monitored by the relevant transport and finance departments, the guidelines said.