People's Network January 12, 2020
While the paid membership services introduced by some companies have brought benefits and convenience to consumers, they also have inaccurate names and even hidden cats, which has repeatedly caused the paid membership model to become controversial.
"It was automatically deducted again. This time I cancelled it immediately. I wanted to cancel it after the last two deductions, but I was afraid that I would not be able to enjoy the membership service money this month after the cancellation, so I thought about giving it at the end of the month. Cancelled, but forgot to cancel twice at the end of the month. "Recently, Mr. Feng, who works in Beijing's Xicheng District, told reporters that he purchased a member of a video website at the end of 2018 and renewed automatically every month after expiration.
With the intensification of market competition and the increasing demand for high-quality services by users, paid membership systems are increasingly recognized and accepted by consumers, especially in the fields of e-commerce shopping, online travel, knowledge payment, audio and video playback, and network disks. The membership model is developing rapidly.
Lu Xichun, secretary general of the Jiangsu Consumer Protection Commission, told reporters that the purpose of consumer registration of paid members is mainly to remove advertisements, enjoy benefits, use more features and enjoy priority.
However, a recent survey by the Journalist of the Workers' Daily found that while paying membership services launched by some companies have brought benefits and convenience to consumers, there are also misunderstandings and even hidden mess. For example, "Member Jump Ads" users are still harassed by advertisements, there are super members on the members, and automatic renewal is not notified when the members expire, which makes the paid membership model repeatedly controversial.
"Member Ads" still harassed by ads
I bought a member because I saw that IQiyi ’s video site has a "Member Jump Advertising" service, but after the purchase, I found that the ads in the film did not "skip". Sun Xin (a pseudonym), a female student at Suzhou University Law School, sued IQiyi and obtained Lose 30 yuan.
On November 6, last year, an official WeChat public account of the Suzhou Intermediate People's Court issued a commentary saying that iQIYI, as an online company with more technical advantages, guided consumers to purchase members with misleading publicity, which violated Sun. Xin's right to know.
Sun Xin's experience is not alone. The reporter found in the survey that many consumers still have suspended ads, interstitial ads, etc. in the process of watching videos after recharging the members of the video site. In addition, there are media reports that member users who have purchased video sites have also been harassed by member-only advertisements.
So, there will still be advertisements after purchasing the membership. Is this a violation of consumer rights? In response, some lawyers stated that the video website has stated in the relevant rules and regulations that "there may be other forms of advertising", so there is no infringement problem. However, Chen Yinjiang, deputy secretary general of the Consumer Law Protection Law Research Society of the Chinese Law Society, told reporters that if the video website is not notified in bold ways such as bold fonts or large font sizes, it is still suspected of violating consumers' right to know and choose.
Super members on top of members
At the end of last year, in response to the hit drama "Celebrating the Year", iQiyi, Tencent Video and other websites launched VIP member advanced on-demand services. On the basis of watching 6 episodes before the average user, VIP members can spend 6 yuan to watch 6 more episodes. This is called by the media as VVIP (important VIP) in addition to VIP, so it annoys many users. Many users have questioned the video site's "too-deep routine" and "bad taste", and some users said that in addition to VIP, there is VVIP, which makes the video site's "VIP members' first look at 6 episodes" publicity commitment constitute false publicity.
In addition to video sites, Baidu's web disk has also been controversial because it has super member services on top of member services.
On January 7, the reporter downloaded a 393M file through Baidu's web disk, but the download speed was only about 130KB per second, and the download was completed in nearly an hour. If you want to speed up the download, you can only open a super membership service of 298 yuan / year, even if you open a membership service of 96 yuan / year, it can't be accelerated.
In this regard, Baidu Web Disk has stated that Baidu Web Disk provides free space memory for the majority of users, which is already a high cost that needs to be continuously paid every year (similar products at home and abroad have been charged for the size of the space, such as iCloud) In addition, there are service costs and bandwidth costs. When opening the Baidu network disk to upload and download files, the official needs to pay for the bandwidth when these files are transferred. The larger the user's file bandwidth, the higher the cost. If the download speed of Baidu Net Disk is fully opened, there will be greater bandwidth cost expenditures, so this restriction on non-members is to control the operating cost of the entire product.
Some users expressed their understanding, but some users said that the super member acceleration can be understood, but the download speed of non-members is too slow. Taking a step back, non-member speed limit is just fine, and members also give the speed limit inevitably to suspect that it is to promote higher prices for super members.
Automatic renewal after membership expires
"Automatic renewal" is also the main reason why consumers are dissatisfied with the paid membership model. According to a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Protection Commission of Jiangsu Province, 24 apps that are used frequently by consumers every day have automatic renewal functions. Among them, 21 samples set automatic renewal as a priority option, accounting for 87.5% of all experience samples. Only 3 have not set auto-renewal as a priority option. In addition, 12 of the 24 samples have a trial function, of which 8 samples once the user chooses a trial, it is equivalent to the automatic renewal selected by default, accounting for 33.33% of the total number of samples.
The survey also showed that in 24 samples, after the automatic renewal was successful, 17 samples were not notified after the deduction, and users often only can obtain the deduction information through a third-party platform. These samples are: Tencent Video, Sohu, Tudou, Storm Video, Netease Cloud Music, Shrimp Music, Palm Reading, Migu Reading, Zhihu, Get, Blockbuster, Xiaoying, Baidu Web Disk, WPS, Tencent Weiyun, Dragonfly FM Wait.
In this regard, the Jiangsu Consumer Protection Commission pointed out that APP operators should fully fulfill their obligation to inform and further protect consumers' right to know. Whether before or after the automatic renewal of the charge, the APP operator should notify consumers of the charge or imminent debit via SMS via the platform, and inform consumers of the cancellation of the renewal in the notification. Approach to fully protect consumers' right to know.
In addition, the results of the online questionnaire also showed that 77.89% of consumers said that they cannot cancel their subscriptions and charges after recharging, and 78.02% of consumers considered this provision unreasonable.
In response, Mr. Qiu Baochang, a member of the Expert Committee of the China Consumers Association, told reporters that the APP operator unilaterally agreed that consumers would cancel the "one-size-fits-all" provision for members' non-refundable refunds on the way, and did not regulate the obligations of the operators. Consumer responsibilities and increased consumer responsibilities are unfair format terms.
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