China’s bike sharing services are known for being plentiful, convenient and cheap, which is why one unfortunate customer in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province was so surprised when he saw his over 400,000 yuan bill for a quick 20 minute ride.
The man surnamed Shi decided to give this whole shared bike craze a whirl when he went out for an after dinner walk on April 18th. Shi downloaded the Xiaoming Bike (小鸣单车) app, connected the app to his bank account, and paid a 199 yuan security deposit. He was pleased to see that the charges for using a shared bike were extremely inexpensive, just 0.5 yuan for 30 minutes of cycling.
Sina News reports that he took out the bike at 7:29 p.m and then locked it back up less than 30 minutes later.
But, at 8:34 p.m., he was horrified to find that his bill had somehow shot up from 0.5 yuan to 414,588 yuan in less than an hour, with the app claiming that he had biked for more than 48 hours, burning off 18,718,674 calories in the process, despite the fact that he had apparently only traveled 0.01 km.
Shi said that the whole thing nearly scared him to death. He had over 10,000 yuan in that bank account, and he was terrified that he would lose it all. He quickly contacted the police about the matter, but they said that there was nothing they could do at this time, and that he should contact the company. To be on the safe side, Shi took the bike to the police station and showed officers the screenshots he had taken, in case they were needed for evidence.
That night, Shi did not not sleep well. Every few minutes, he would pick up his phone and check the Xiaoming app. Finally, he woke up at 8 a.m. the next morning to find that his situation had not improved. The bill now claimed that he owed an extra 12 yuan, and had burned off an additional 5 million calories overnight.
But in the end, it turned out to be much ado about nothing. He simply called the customer service hotline and got the whole thing sorted out.
Actually, Shi ended up profiting from the misadventure. A Xiaoming Bike spokesperson announced that other users in Shenzhen and Hangzhou had encountered similar technical problems on that day, adding that those customers would be given a refund worth double the amount of their ride.
So, rather than lose 400,000 yuan, Shi gained 1 yuan. We’d call that a win.
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