Not long ago, Wall Street English, a well-known training organization, was exposed to rumors that it “will declare bankruptcy.” According to public information, this adult English training company owes up to 1.2 billion yuan in tuition. It is worth noting that this huge amount of tuition is paid by a large number of trainees to training institutions in the form of prepayment, including loans. What is the mystery behind such consumption?
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Wall Street English ceases operations, students still have to repay loans
Wall Street English, an adult English training organization that entered the Chinese market in 2000, has positioned its customers as a mid-to-high-end group. Although the price of courses is high, it does not prevent it from becoming the “darling” of the education and training market. It used to increase its annual income. The rate exceeds 40%.
But now, overnight, all 39 learning centers of Wall Street English in 11 cities across the country have ceased operations.
According to the query results of Tianyancha, Wall Street English Training Center (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. was listed as an abnormal operation by the Shanghai Municipal Market Supervision Administration because of “the registered residence or business place cannot be contacted.” At the same time, the risk information of Tianyancha also showed that, Several branches of Wall Street English were included in the list of business abnormalities because their registered residences or business premises could not be contacted.
Closed and closed overnight, the students of Wall Street English felt helpless. Many students continued to report their experiences in local police stations, online courts, and consumer hotlines, seeking solutions to refund the tuition fees.
At the same time, a recording of a conversation between Wall Street English executives and employees on August 11 is also circulating on the Internet. Although the management is noncommittal on the rumors of “Wall Street English will go bankrupt,” it has made consumers’ rights protection road into the Internet. Hot topics.
The training institution is closed. Can the tuition of the trainees be refunded in time? At present, Wall Street English has not given any official answer, and the more complicated question has also surfaced, that is, the students who loan for training and study are now in the embarrassing situation of “don’t learn to take the loan”.
Xiao Luo, 23, is an ordinary white-collar worker. In January 2021, she purchased a one-year training course at a Wall Street English training institution at a price of 22,600 yuan. Under the introduction of the sales consultant, she completed the payment in the form of a loan through an application called “Du Xiaoman”.
Just two months later, Ronaldinho was highly recommended by a Wall Street English sales consultant to renew a one-year training course at a price of 20,500 yuan. This time, she completed the payment by applying for a credit card.
Recalling the entire process of applying for the card, Ronaldinho said that it was unexpected, and what she did not expect was that her monthly income was only 5,000 yuan, but she could easily obtain a loan of 25,000 yuan. But this also means that in order to pay for the two Wall Street English tuition fees, Ronaldinho needs to spend about 3,000 yuan a month just to repay the loan.
A Wall Street English Rights Protection Statistics form filled out spontaneously by trainees shows that in Beijing Dawanglu Center alone, there are 49 users with a course purchase contract value of more than 100,000 yuan, and the highest purchase contract value is as high as 570,000 yuan.
An online statistics form for rights protection that students from the Wall Street English training institution in Guangzhou filled out spontaneously shows that there are 65 users with a purchase contract value of more than 100,000 yuan, and the highest purchase contract amount is more than 1.518 million yuan.
In addition, some volunteers made statistics on the situation of English students in Huaxue Street in various places. As of 12 noon on August 14, more than 6,000 students participated in the registration in less than half a day, involving a contract amount of 480 million.
Among these students, 52% paid for their tuition through loans from banks or financial platforms. The cost of the course is high, and recommended loans have become a necessary course sales process for Wall Street English sales consultants. Under the attack of two or three hours, even five or six hours of powerful sales of speech skills, there are not a few students who put themselves on a tuition debt.
At the same time, the reporter found in the investigation that some students who have no income and no ability to repay have also become the sales targets of Wall Street English sales consultants.
In November 2020, Xiaoxiang, a college student, bought a one-year course at Wall Street English at the center of Beijing Xihuan Plaza at a price of 18,000 yuan, of which the loan payment was nearly 15,000 yuan, and the monthly payment was 1,000 yuan. As a college student with a living cost of only 2,000 yuan, this amount is far beyond Xiao Xiang’s ability to pay.
Without waiting for Xiaoxiang to think too much, the staff who handled the credit card showed up at the scene for the first time, knowing that Xiaoxiang was still a student at school and had not issued any income certificates, etc., even before he even got the credit card. The loan line was opened directly on the app and paid on the spot.
Xiao Xiang told reporters that in Wall Street English, his situation is not an isolated case. In fact, in February 2021, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and other five ministries and commissions jointly issued the “Notice on Further Regulating the Supervision and Administration of College Students’ Internet Consumer Loans”, clarifying that microfinance companies shall not issue Internet consumer loans to college students. Institutions approved by the regulatory authorities are not allowed to provide credit services to college students.
The reporter contacted several Internet financial institutions mentioned by the lending college students. Although their answers were not leaking, after the regulatory authorities issued this document, there were still students in the school who used their identity information to purchase Wall Street through loans. English courses.
Can’t go to class and still have to repay the loan
With the closure of Wall Street English offline stores, students now generally face a dilemma: the purchased courses can neither be taken nor refunded, but the loan must be repaid, otherwise it will have a negative impact on personal credit.
In order to recoup their financial losses, some trainees also applied for loan refunds to the lending institutions. Many financial institutions that provide loan services to trainees have stated that in order to cancel the loan contract, Wall Street English needs to refund to the financial institution first and apply for cancellation of the trainees. Loan contract. However, when Ronaldinho called the Wall Street English hotline again, the call could no longer be reached.
Wall Street English, which has closed its doors and closed business, will students have a chance to refund the tuition if it is in the process of bankruptcy and liquidation in the future?
As early as 2019, Weber English, one of the three giants of adult English training, closed many stores across the country because of the broken capital chain, and the relevant person in charge “ran away.” Until August 2021, some trainees won the lawsuit against the training institution in the Shenzhen court, but because Weber English had no assets for enforcement, the tuition fees were still not recovered.
As a popular scene in the consumer finance industry, “training loans” have always been favored by many financial institutions. However, in recent years, the risk of education and training staging has gradually been exposed to the public. Relevant training institutions can close their doors overnight and suspend classes. The training institutions have already obtained the loan money from the trainees and will not return them to consumers in the slightest. However, financial institutions are not even worried about loan students’ defaulting on their debts, because the “credit investigation on overdue records” regulations of lenders are a “big hand” that blocks the “fate door” of loan consumers. In the end, the students who consume loans can only admit that they are unlucky.
[半小时观察]: Consumer finance calls for effective supervision
As early as the beginning of 2021, the central bank issued an early warning: it is necessary to be highly vigilant against the overdraft effect and potential risks caused by the excessive rise in the leverage ratio of residents, and it is not appropriate to rely on consumer finance to expand consumption. Consumers should not believe in the deceit of the merchants. Before consuming, they must think clearly about their rights and interests. Will they be harmed? At the same time, we look forward to the introduction of more regulatory rules. Consumer finance is to develop, but it must not become a black hand for merchants to entrap consumers.