A Shenzhen couple could not get a refund for a U.S. birth tourism service after changing their mind, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
The husband, who was identified by his surname Liu, and his wife, surnamed Sun, contacted an agency called Meibao House about delivering their baby in the U.S. last November.
After consulting with the staff, the couple signed a contract with the agency and paid 23,000 yuan (US$3,344) for the service.
“They promised that if the visa application was denied, the service fee would be returned,” Sun told the reporter with the Daily.
Although the agency promised to return the fee when Sun and her family decided to abandon the plan, the couple had not received the refund as of this July.
As the problem remained unresolved, the couple chose to defend their interest through litigation. However, when Liu sent the materials to a Futian court it said that the case should be filed in Jing’an District in Shanghai in accordance with the contract. As none of the companies mentioned in the contract were registered in Shanghai, the Shanghai court might not accept the case, Liu said.
Liu also found that the contract said that if a dispute remained unsettled, a legal procedure should be launched in the United Sates, where the birth center is located.
Sun told the Daily that her friend surnamed Xu had also left her contact information on the official website of Meibao House in April to consult about freezing her eggs.
She was later contacted by a staffer on WeChat under the name “Yunmei Shengming,” rather than “Meibao House.”
The reporter later accompanied Xu to the office in Jingdi Building in Futian District.
The staffer at the office explained that the company has several brands, like Meibao House and Yunmei Shengming, for various services.
The agency’s staffer said that the fees paid by customers are only refundable if their visas are denied. Any other condition, including the actual service being different than the promise, would not qualify for a refund.
At the same time, Futian’s market supervision authority investigated the agency and discovered that it had not posted a business license at the office and had not reported its change of business address to the authority in time. The person in charge of the company was also not present.
The reporter found that some of the companies behind the agency had been involved in a lot of contract disputes.(Jiang Wenyi)