Seeking damages and reparations for money he lost, Mr. Shao of Foshan, Guangdong, has filed a lawsuit against two of China's largest game companies, as well as China's equivalent of PayPal, and a bank. What exactly is Shao so peeved about, apart from his lost cash? Apparently the money was going into accounts for online games that Shao doesn't play; in fact the 47-year-old Shao doesn't even play video games.
In September, Shao was attempting conduct some online banking, setting up accounts and putting money aside. After following the directions on the pamphlet that came with his ATM card, Shao tried to put 8,000 yuan ($1,285) into his Alipay account. Alipay is a service similar to PayPal in China that is run by Alibaba. After receiving a message that showed his transaction was complete, Shao was then greeted by another message saying his payment failed.
Freaking out that his transaction failed, Shao immediately checked his bank balance only to find that his balance was 8,000 yuan lighter. Checking under the transaction tab, he saw that the money was sent to Shanghai Giant Corporation. Confused as to why a gaming company was getting his money, Shao called Giant in Shanghai and asked them to put a freeze on the account where his money ended up. He also asked the money to be returned.
Giant denied his request.
Despite being angry and short 8,000 yuan, Shao wasn't turned away from online banking. Only a month later, he caught his eye on a DSLR camera on Taobao.com (China's version of Ebay/Amazon). This very same camera was priced at 8,000 yuan and Shao decided to try online banking again. He logged onto his account and transferred the money over to his Alipay account. Unfortunately it didn't go through again and this time his money some how wound up funding a gaming subscription with the Chinese gaming company, The Nine.
After finding out that his purchase didn't go through, Shao called The Nine to have his money refunded. The Nine however denied his request citing that there was money coming in from Shao's account number, however the name on the game account belonged to one "Han Qingqing". This "Han Qingqing" also immediately emptied the account of cash, converting it to online subscription renewal vouchers that were distributed to 40 different online accounts.
Sick and tired of this ridiculous game, Shao decided to sue his bank, the gaming companies of The Nine and Giant, and Alipay in an attempt to recoup his 16,000 yuan ($2570) as well as any additional legal costs he may incur.
As of right now the case doesn't seem to be going well for Shao. Giant and The Nine both claim that they have no fault in this case. Their argument is that they can not arbitrarily freeze player accounts and that despite having a valid account transaction and account number there was no way to verify that Shao was the account holder or that he and the game accounts have nothing in common.
The Nine also argued that Shao should have had authorities reach out to them. They also stated that they did not benefit from the recharge as the money went directly to players.
Alipay also had threw Shao a similar curveball, stating that Shao isn't a customer of Alipay but instead a user. According to Alipay, the real holder of the online transactions account is the People's Bank of China.
Shao's bank also seems to be against him. His bank's lawyer said that Shao probably had a virus on his computer and it might be the reason why his online payments have failed. The bank also said that Shao was too slow to respond and that the bank isn't at fault in this instance.
All of this looks very grim for Shao, but one thing that I've learned in China during my time here is that, you don't mess with the bank. My office building has an ATM that allows for deposits—this ATM is only used by the people in my office and refilled by the Bank of China. I ended up withdrawing a fake bill from the ATM, when I called the bank, they blamed me. I really feel for Shao but it seems he's fighting a losing battle.
男子误为网游充值过万 状告四公司要求赔偿 [Southern Morning Daily via People's Daily]
(Top photo: Chris Brignell | Shutterstock)
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