Ever use those power banks which you can rent in restaurants to charge up your phone while dining? They are a popular utility but one now increasingly less so. In fact, they are beginning to infuriate many. Stay away is the advice on offer.
The shared-power bank industry has been garnering attention from many quarters of late, unhappy consumers, yes, but now also inquisitive journalists and observers in the legal profession. Naki Power Bank Sharing
Chen Zhengkang is a resident of Qingpu District in Shanghai. “I remember that when the shared-power bank first appeared, it could be charged for 1 or 2 hours at a cost of ¥0.5 or ¥1. Now the ‘initial charge’ is about ¥3 or ¥4, and some charging speeds are still very slow”, said Chen.
Reporters for the Rule of Law Daily recently sampled shared-power banks in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Anhui Province and other places, and found that there has been a consistent rise in prices for their use.
By and large, rental fees for shared-power banks now run at around ¥3 per hour, while prices in large business districts and tourist attractions are generally between ¥4 and ¥6 per hour. At some places, the cost can be as high as ¥9.90.
And while prices have been going up, charging speeds have been slowing down. Reporters found that some rentable-power banks only managed to charge about 15 percent of a phone’s battery in an hour.
Chen Yinjiang, Deputy Secretary General of the Consumer Protection Law Research Association of the China Law Society, believes that the market for rentable-power banks is relatively saturated. As such, the providers have the right to set their own prices and be subjected to laws of supply and demand.
“However, it is still necessary to follow the principles of fairness, legality, honesty and credibility, to establish fair and reasonable prices, clearly mark prices, and not drive up prices or collude with others to raise prices”, said Chen Yinjiang.
Some consumers have commented that rental locations can close early, leaving users with the cost of renting the power bank overnight or looking for another location to which to return it. With docking stations full or suffering from power failure or an internet disconnect, some mentioned having gone to as many as four locations in order to make a successful return.
Back in Shanghai, Chen Zhengkang also made reference to another point which has people fuming, saying, “When renting it [the power bank], a lot of advertisements appear after you scan the code”.
Media outlet, The Paper, is stating investigative reporters as describing those advertisements as “countless”. Different advertisements were found to pop up during each step of the recharge operation. It was also noted there can be as many as four different advertisements on a phone’s screen at any one time, occupying some 80 percent of the display.
The “Provisions on the Administration of Internet Pop up Information Push Service”, implemented on 30 September of this year, put forward the requirement that pop-up advertising information should be identifiable, marked as “advertising” and include a circled “X” to close the advertisement, while it should also be ensured that such can indeed be closed with just one click.
The upshots of it all are that more and more people are remembering to take their own power banks with them from home, while for others, it’s ending up being cheaper and less frustrating to go next door and buy an altogether new one.
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