Chinese mother sues live-streaming firm after daughter ran up US$98,000 bill in three months

Court rejects claim after mother fails to prove it was her daughter who had been tipping male hosts to get them to talk to her

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 December, 2017, 7:23pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 2:20pm

A Chinese mother who sued a live-streaming company for a refund after her daughter ran up a bill for 650,000 yuan (US$98,000) without her knowledge has lost her case.

The 16-year-old daughter ran up the bill in the space of three months by tipping male live-streaming hosts on Inke, China’s top live streaming app, Legal Evening News reported.

The mother, surnamed Liu, claimed that her daughter secretly registered an account on Inke and used online payment platforms that were in her mother’s name.

Liu demanded Beijing MeeLive Network Technology Co, the owner of Inke, should give the money back, but the court ruled against Liu because she had failed to prove that she had not made the payments.

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Liu’s daughter, who was only identified as “Xiaoya”, became addicted to Inke while she was studying in Canada.

Xiaoya had secretly withdrawn money using her mother’s bank card and her student account in Canada. Without Liu’s knowledge, Xiaoya then loaded the money on to her Inke account.

Xiaoya used the money to tip the male live-streaming hosts so that they would talk to her.

While Liu was shocked by her daughter’s behaviour, Xiaoya was reported to have said she did not see a problem with her fondness for the site.

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MeeLive stated in the trial that since the account was registered under Liu’s identity card number and all the payments were under Liu’s name, it was not possible to refund her.

The reporter found that buying a “diamond”, a type of virtual currency used on Inke, did not need real-name authentication. There are no age restrictions on who can use the site.

“Minors cannot resist temptation, but Inke allows them to join. I think the company should have a moral bottom line,” Liu was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

Liu appealed against the court’s decision and the case is now being heard by Beijing No 3 Intermediate People’s Court.