How to solve the problem of misappropriation of funds by another social e-commerce platform

Recently, Beidian, an e-commerce platform under the Beibei Group, was reported to be in arrears with merchants in payment for goods and the security deposit was not refunded. Nearly a thousand suppliers participated in rights protection and were owed over 100 million yuan in payment for goods.

Before Beidian, Taojiji, a similar model, had gone bankrupt.

01 The “dark horse” is heading for decline

It is reported that Zhang Lianglun, the founder of Beibei Group, was born in Ali. In 2011, Zhang Lianglun founded Beibei Group after leaving Ali. In 2014, he founded Beibei.com, which specializes in vertical maternal and child e-commerce. In 2017, Beibei Group launched Beidian, a social e-commerce platform for transformation. The platform manages the transaction funds of suppliers and shopkeepers and the deposit for shopkeepers to open stores. In less than 4 months, Beidian received over 1 million orders on Double Eleven in 2017; at the end of the year, Beidian won the “Fastest Dark Horse APP”.

However, such an e-commerce “dark horse” has been plagued by complaints repeatedly. Users have complained one after another on online dispute service platforms such as Dianfubao and Heimao Complaints, reflecting that Beibei Group’s “Beidian” and “Beichang” have settled in Stores have breached their promises, and the deposit will not be refunded when the store is returned.

In addition, in March 2020, Beibei Group experienced large-scale layoffs, with about 200 layoffs, accounting for 20% of the company’s total number of employees, involving multiple business sectors such as Beibei.com, Beidian, and Beichang.

Legal Weekend reporter learned that Beidian is a third-party platform. After customers place an order, the money is first deposited on the Beidian platform. It takes 15 to 20 working days before merchants can withdraw cash. Some merchants reported that each settlement will only result in a certain amount of profit, “and there will often be a problem of missing orders.”

At the beginning of July, the community group buying Tongcheng Life also encountered a situation where suppliers collectively demanded payment for goods, and the delinquency amounted to more than 200 million yuan. In the same month, Tongcheng Life filed for bankruptcy reorganization due to a broken capital chain.

02 E-commerce platform chaos

With the development of the mobile Internet, emerging e-commerce platforms including social e-commerce, short video live e-commerce, and private domain e-commerce have developed rapidly in recent years, but hidden dangers have been buried behind the rapid development.

The legal weekend reporter found that in recent years, social sharing-type e-commerce platforms have experienced group buying, micro-business, group buying and other models, and reached their peak in 2018. With the calm after capital swarming, they gradually fell into weakness in 2019. Starting a round of elimination, in addition to the above-mentioned Tongcheng Life, Taojiji, Daluo, Zebra members, etc. have all fallen into financial crisis. These companies either choose to go bankrupt or switch tracks.

Xu Xu, executive director of the Digital Economy and Legal Innovation Research Center of the University of International Business and Economics, said that the earliest transaction risk of e-commerce is the trust problem between sellers and buyers. With the emergence of platforms such as Taobao, the trust problem between both parties has been solved. Slowly, this risk changed.

“The transaction risk of e-commerce has been transformed from the previous credit risk to the moral hazard and operational risk of the e-commerce platform.” Permit believes that it is common in many industries that the platform first collects user funds and then settles it to merchants or suppliers. practice. There is a certain account period in this process, but if this part of the money lacks third-party supervision and is managed by the platform itself, it is tantamount to a “time bomb”. If you do not rely on a professional and fair third-party platform for automatic account splitting and settlement, and let the platform handle the funds, it will undoubtedly provide a natural soil for it to misappropriate the supplier’s payment for goods.

03 E-commerce platforms urgently need capital management

Professor Xue Jun, Deputy Dean of Peking University Law School and Director of the E-Commerce Law Research Center, said that in the past, due to the lack of a fund-sharing supervision mechanism, the relationship between the platform and its suppliers was distorted. In the hands of the platform, the platform maintains a strong or even hegemonic position over suppliers, arbitrarily adjusts the payment time and payment ratio, and even deducts or embezzles, which breeds many economic and social problems, and also makes suppliers, especially small and medium-sized suppliers, suffer. . Therefore, it is necessary to implement effective capital supervision, regulate the behavior of the platform to bully small and medium-sized suppliers, and allow more market players, especially the small and medium-sized suppliers in the platform ecology, to obtain a fair business environment.

At the end of November 2017, the People’s Bank of China issued Document No. 217, requiring a resolute and thorough investigation of the “Second Clearing”, in which enterprises without capital clearing qualifications engaged in fund clearing activities.

Permit believes that a reasonable fund supervision model should be one-to-one special supervision, entrusting a licensed third-party professional platform or financial institution to take full custody and automatically split accounts, strictly control all links in the fund chain, and the platform cannot misappropriate it privately to ensure funds. Safety.

It is reported that the current large e-commerce platforms, in order to ensure the safety of funds, the business funds will first enter the special account, and then the income will be settled through the brand room to the public account to protect the rights and interests of suppliers.

Professor Xue Jun said that relevant departments should clarify the basic principles of fund sharing and supervision of e-commerce platforms as soon as possible, and accelerate the research and formulation of industry norms and standards for the sharing and supervision of customer funds collected by e-commerce platforms, so as to avoid the formation of “capital pools”. ”, which restricts the platform from misappropriating the supplier’s payment for goods and forms a good ecology between the e-commerce platform and the supplier. This is also an important sign of China’s e-commerce from “juvenile” to mature.

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