Online disputes center on travel agency

Ke Jiayun
Ctrip was involved in more than 65 percent of Internet-related civil and commercial disputes accepted by Shanghai's Changning District People's Court in the past three years.
Ke Jiayun

China’s largest online travel agency Ctrip was involved in more than 65 percent of Internet-related civil and commercial disputes accepted by Shanghai’s Changning District People’s Court in the past three years.

Next were online discounter Pinduoduo and travel website Lvmama.

Between 2016 and 2018, the Changning court received nearly 3,000 civil and commercial cases in connection with the Internet, according to a white paper issued by the court yesterday.

Almost 2,000 of them were related to travel giant Ctrip, the highest among all online platforms, while Pinduoduo had 521 cases and Lvmama had 225.

A year ago, the Changning court set up the city’s first tribunal for Internet-related civil and commercial cases, including disputes over online service contracts, online shopping contracts, loan contracts, travel contracts and Internet infringement. 

Changning District is home to more than 4,300 Internet companies, including Ctrip.

Ctrip cases mainly focused on online service contract disputes, 1,728, and travel contract disputes, 152. 

In a recent case handled by the court last month, the family of a female tourist demanded compensation of more than 1.2 million yuan (US$175,000) from Ctrip after she slipped in the sea when taking a picture and drowned.

But the court decided Ctrip had warned her and her travel companions of the risks associated with island tourism and rejected the claim.

The court blamed the increasing number of disputes on several factors. 

These included the difference between simplified purchasing and complex product structures, the distribution of profit between different parties inside the platform, and gaps between Internet service innovations and existing regulations.

The court called on government departments to enhance their supervision of the Internet market and online service providers to strengthen  management. 

Consumers should also be more aware of the details of the products they are buying and keep all records.

Also yesterday, the Changning court employed a group of Internet judicial experts to form an Internet litigation platform.

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