(2021-11-22) Manuscript source: Xinhua Daily Telegraph Xinhua Finance

  Xinhua News Agency reporters Ma Lijuan and Yang Wenxi

  Recently, a chain organization called "Chao Ting Fitness" has "run the road" in stores in Ningxia, Shaanxi, Hebei and other places, causing concern.

Interviewed experts and business people said that in recent years, the prepaid industry has frequent "off-the-road" incidents, and it is shifting from the east to the third and fourth-tier cities in the central and western regions, exposing the imperfect legal system for prepaid card supervision and the blind spots in the supervision of administrative departments. Other ills, it is recommended that multiple measures be taken to control the chaos in the prepaid card market.

  A fitness shop "runs" in many places across the country

  From last year to September this year, Chao Ting Fitness, which opened 11 stores in Yinchuan City, Ningxia, ceased business. Some newly opened stores have been closed for less than one year from establishment to closure. There is no way for members to refund fees, and employees encounter wage arrears, which triggers consumption. The person is strongly dissatisfied.

The reporter learned from an interview that the consumers involved spontaneously formed multiple rights protection groups. It is roughly estimated that there are more than 2,000 members and the loss amount exceeds 4 million yuan.

  "I didn't receive any notice in advance, and there was still more than 8,000 yuan in the card without consumption. The store was still engaged in membership card promotion a week before the'run away'. This is obviously a fraud and the nature is too bad." Consumer involved Wang Lu (Pseudonym) I applied for two cards at Chaoting Fitness Evergrande Yujing Store in 2019. The store closed around April last year and she was transferred to Chaoting Fitness Central Store, which also closed in early September this year.

  Consumers such as Wang Lu also introduced that there are many irregularities in the operation of Chaoting Fitness itself, and there are big loopholes in fund management. "Members buy lessons and transfer them directly to coaches. Some are more than 100,000 yuan at a time. The company’s account is not clear.” The reporter visited many Chaoting Fitness stores on the spot and saw that the gym door was closed, people went to the building, and some stores still owed rent and property fees to the mall.

A former Chao Court fitness trainer who did not want to be named said that he did not notify the employees of the store where he "ran off," and he still owed him more than 7,000 yuan in wages.

  The reporter's research found that, as a national chain fitness organization, Chaoting Fitness has "run off" in Haikou, Hainan, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, Yulin, Shaanxi and other places. Most of these stores are still promoting membership cards and private education courses at low prices before closing. .

The reporter saw from the screenshots of the WeChat Moments of the consumers involved, the employees who had worked in Chaoting Fitness Yinchuan Store, after "running" in the Yinchuan store, soon released a pre-sale advertisement for opening a new store in Weifang, Shandong in the Moments of Friends.

  There are three major shortcomings in the supervision of prepaid cards

  In recent years, prepaid consumption has become a ubiquitous business operation model in many industries. However, malicious fraud, money circumvention and other chaos have frequently occurred, which has become the hardest hit area for consumer complaints.

The reporter learned through investigation that at present, there are still three major shortcomings in this field of supervision.

  ——Lack of upper-level law, low cost for enterprises to violate the law.

Zhou Wenjing, a partner of Beijing DeHeng (Yinchuan) Law Firm, said that my country lacks special laws governing prepaid consumption. Currently, it is mainly implemented in accordance with the "Management Measures for Single-Purpose Commercial Prepaid Cards (Trial)" issued by the Ministry of Commerce in 2012. The legal level is low. , Management effectiveness is limited.

  The Measures require the registration and filing of single-purpose prepaid card corporate legal persons in the retail industry, accommodation and catering industry, and resident service industries. However, education and training, sports and fitness industries are not covered, and non-corporate legal persons such as individual industrial and commercial households are also not included in the filing scope. .

  "When consumer disputes occur, most of the responsible departments mainly intervene after the fact, with limited means and effects, and fall into a passive situation." Zhou Wenjing said, in addition, according to this method, the law enforcement department's maximum penalty for various violations of prepaid cards is 3 Ten thousand yuan, the cost of corporate violations is low, and it cannot form a deterrent.

  ——The responsible party is unknown, and there are blind spots in supervision.

Prepaid consumption involves multiple administrative departments. For example, the issuance of cards is supervised by the commerce department, consumer disputes are handled by the market supervision department, and criminal violations are handed over to the public security. However, when incidents occur, they are often "no matter the bulls."

  Consumer Liu Yu (a pseudonym) complained to reporters that she found the local market supervision bureau the day after she discovered that Chaoting Fitness was "running", but the market supervision bureau pushed it to the commerce bureau, and the commerce bureau to the public security bureau. Was pushed back to the Market Supervision Bureau, "Who will manage?"

  ——Transfer from east to west, lack of regional cooperation.

The reporter's investigation learned that in recent years, the phenomenon of prepaid merchants “running off the road” has shifted from east to west. The problem in first-tier cities has shown a trend of high incidence many years ago. Local governments have passed legislation to form a systematic solution, such as Beijing. , Shanghai and other places are exploring full supervision or proportional freezing of prepayments by banks and others to ensure the safety of funds. However, the central and western regions have only shown an upward trend in recent years, and the legislation is relatively lagging.

  In addition, some chain-type enterprises are issuing cards in multiple places, and there have been "runaways" one after another. However, cross-regional supervisory departments rarely carry out joint work.

  Call for speeding up legislation related to prepaid cards

  At present, Yinchuan City Market Supervision and Administration has led multiple departments to set up special work classes and are registering and collecting information on consumers involved in Chaoting Fitness.

In mid-October, the Ningxia Market Supervision Department, together with multiple departments, issued a notice to launch a three-month special standardization of commercial prepaid cards in key industries in the region.

When reporters contacted multiple relevant departments for interviews on this matter, they all said it was inconvenient to accept the interview.

  Interviewed experts, scholars, and business people said that prepaid consumption is a "win-win" business model for businesses to quickly withdraw funds and give back to consumers. It helps stimulate consumption and promote economic growth. However, in recent years, various chaos have seriously damaged If the market develops healthily, it may also lead to follow-up, and supervision needs to be strengthened urgently.

  First of all, we must speed up the legislation related to prepaid cards, and promulgate relevant laws and regulations as soon as possible at the national level.

Zhou Wenjing suggested to improve the card issuance system from the source, adopt the mode of filing and review first, and then issuing, strengthen the review and evaluation of the qualifications of card issuers, and establish and make public a credit evaluation system.

Establish a regular reporting system, requiring card issuers to publish annual reports including total assets, net profit, and advance payment management, etc., to supervise their operations.

The western region can learn from the systems and regulations already promulgated by cities such as Beijing and Shanghai to improve local legislation as soon as possible.

  Second, we must improve the daily supervision and coordination mechanism and risk handling mechanism.

Jin Tao, a citizen of Yinchuan City, said that many businesses have some clues before they "off the road", such as service quality decline, frequent business closures, etc., and hope that the regulatory authorities or consumer associations will strengthen public opinion monitoring, handle complaints in a timely manner, and discover bad business behaviors. Early warning information, consumption reminders, etc. should be issued to consumers in a timely manner to avoid greater losses.

  Xinhua News Agency Yinchuan

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