Authorities crack down on education-training schools
Four education-training institutions have been heavily fined for violations against China's price law and law against unfair competition, Shanghai's market watchdog said today.
Wall Street English, DaDa, Zhangmen.com and OneSmart International Education Group have been fined a combined 10 million yuan (US$1.57 million), according to the Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation.
DaDa, an online education institution, was found to have exaggerated its training effect and parents' anxiety, and fabricated its faculty's qualifications. Its promotions on its app and WeChat account featured claims such as "15 minutes, 30 days, saying goodbye to Chinglish," "70 percent of Chinese parents are worried about their children's English study" and "100 percent of our teachers are foreigners from native English-speaking countries," according to the administration.
These claims proved to be fake or misleading commercial promotions, which violated China's law against unfair competition.
DaDa was also found to have fabricated or used misleading pricing means to trick consumers into deals, as no transaction was made based on its so-called original course prices when it offered discounts.
Wall Street English was found to have violated China's price law for similar acts when selling courses on its WeChat account.
It claimed on its app that it had hosted 25 training camps, and 86 students won Swatch watches as gifts, among other claims, which was false.
The company exaggerated the number of courses, applications and gifts distributed, which constituted fake or misleading commercial promotions and was against China's anti-unfair competition law.
The English training institution said it has begun to rectify its pricing and promotion irregularities and will improve management.
Zhangmen.com was found to have exaggerated its number of applicants, the background of its teachers and its "magic" in accurately predicting the content of examination papers for national college entrance exams.
It was also found to have violated China's price law.
OneSmart International Education Group was found to have fabricated its teachers' qualifications and their training and teaching background, and violating of China's price law.
These administrative penalties were handed down in a campaign organized by the State Administration for Market Regulation to crack down on irregularities in the education training market.