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A Reddit user posted a thread yesterday on the forum warning oBike users to check their account.

Apparently, the Singapore bike-sharing company has been “secretly converting” the deposits in users’ idle accounts into its 1095-day Super VIP (SVIP) Membership subscription, which lets users get free unlimited rides daily across all oBike-operating countries.

This particular programme is “deposit-free”, but is priced the same as the deposit (both $49).

Angry oBike users have been complaining that this “upgrade” or forced purchase reeks of a scam, since they are now unable to refund their deposit.

Warning for Obike users! They are secretly converting deposits in idle accounts into 1000 day SVIP subscriptions so you won’t be able to get any refunds. from singapore

Isn’t This A Fraudulent Act?

A snippet of oBike’s terms of service

According to oBike’s terms of service, a new clause has been added since 12 March 2018.

This clause states that the rider agrees to convert his/her deposit to oBike’s annual membership subscription.

Otherwise, the rider would have to terminate his/her oBike service.

If you refuse to convert your deposit, you can request for a refund.

In other words, you either switch to the VIP model, or quit using its service.

While some might argue that this new clause is unfair or “bad practice”, it is definitely by no means unlawful.

They are just changing how the deposit is used, and the option to refund is available for users.

What About Converting Without User Consent?

My colleague, who is an oBike user, said that she did receive a notification about this SVIP programme in her oBike inbox.

Screenshot of oBike’s message

However, there was no mention about the conversion of deposit into this membership programme.

One Facebook user also said that while users account are not “automatically upgraded”, she noted a $49 deduction in her account’s purchase history to “buy” the said SVIP programme.

Screenshot of Jasmine Tsoi’s photo post on Facebook

oBike’s Refund Goes Beyond The Promised 14 Days

According to oBike’s FAQ on their website, the deposit refund only takes 14 days to be processed (this differs from their terms of service, which states “1-30 working days”).

However, one Reddit user said that his refund took as long as 3 months.

Screenshot from Reddit thread

He added that when he prompted oBike after the first month, the company replied that due to the high volume of refund requests, they would need more time to process his refund.

Only 2 months after the email transaction did he receive the refund in his bank account.

In any case, do check your oBike account, especially if you haven’t been riding it for a while.

Make sure to withdraw your deposit, or if it’s already converted into the SVIP scheme, do demand them for a refund ASAP!

Featured Image Credit: South China Morning Post / Screenshot from Facebook 

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)