Shanghai Consumer Council has received a dramatic increase in complaints in the period from January to October.
More than 7,100 complaints — up from 68 over the same period last year — were made about bike-sharing services, the council said yesterday.
Xiangqi, Mobike and Ofo are the top three most complained-about brands. Xiangqi heads the list, with 3,771 complaints.
Consumers' complaints focus on three aspects — the cash deposit, billing, and customer service.
Shared-bike users told the council that after they applied for a return of the cash deposit, the companies often failed to give the money back within the period promised, with some users not getting their money back for several months.
Those complaining about the billing system said they had found the bikes they had paid to use often couldn't be ridden due to problems like breakdowns or flat batteries. But once they had scanned the QR code, the system started to charge them.
Although shared-bike firms have hot lines, many people said it was too difficult or impossible to get through to customer services in case of queries or emergencies.
The council is calling on an improvement of the bike-sharing service systems and better implementation of their customer services.
Improved regulation and supervision are also required from the shared-bike managements.
Concern about shared-bike is rising across China.
According to Beijing Evening News, the shared-bike firm Kuqi has been swamped by cash deposit complaints, with nearly 1.5 million users saying they can't get their money back.
Another firm, Bluegogo, has also been accused of failing to return deposits to users.
The Beijing headquarters of both Kuqi and Bluegogo were reported to be closed on Wednesday and yesterday.