Just 3 days ago, Mobike was reported to have made an application to the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) to surrender its bike-sharing license.
If granted, the Chinese firm would need to conduct a “proper exit”, which includes removing all bikes from public places and providing refunds for user deposits and pre-paid credits.
Fellow Chinese bike-sharing firm ofo also made the headlines earlier this year, when LTA suspended its bike-sharing license.
In a statement released by LTA, ofo had “breached multiple regulatory requirements” despite being given “an ample preparation period”.
One of this was having more than the maximum allowed 10,000 bicycles at public places in Singapore.
On 14 February, LTA officially suspended ofo’s operating license, and ordered the firm to remove all its bicycles by 13 March.
LTA added that ofo “should be responsible” for managing the removal of its bicycles, and that the authorities will “refrain from stepping in to manage taxpayer burden”.
Unfortunately, the suspension wasn’t the first piece of negative news from ofo.
Last December, ofo’s CEO revealed that they were experiencing “immense” cash-flow problems.
Following this, ofo was reported to owe vendors in Singapore about $700,000, and was found to have “mysteriously vacated” its office at AXA Tower. Employees also claimed to have been owed reimbursements for “thousands of dollars worth in claims”.
In January, ofo sacked its entire operations team in Singapore, suddenly terminating employees without any explanation or compensation.
S’pore Users Suffer Errant Charges From ofo
According to a report on The Straits Times, it’s not just vendors and ex-employees that are affected by ofo’s sudden departure.
One of the respondents that ST spoke to had three deductions of $8.99 (totaling to around $27) made from her bank account on 11 January this year.
Other affected ofo customers reported unauthorised charges in four different aspects.
1. Receiving multiple charges for ofo passes:
2. Getting charged for passes they did not purchase:
3. Getting charged for monthly passes even after cancellation:
4. Getting charged for parking outside of parking zones:
Some ofo users also reported a glitch in which they continue to be charged even after ending their rides.
In response to queries from ST, the Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) revealed that it has received 25 complaints against ofo since January last year.
Case executive director Loy York Jiun advised existing ofo pass holders to cancel their subscriptions and document the cancellation process “so disputes can be resolved more easily”.
Users who have paid ofo using their credit cards within the last 120 days can also consider lodging a chargeback claim as soon as possible.
Speaking to ST, a former ofo manager said that he was “not surprised” about the complaints on repeat charges.
He revealed that ofo had previously received similar complaints last June and August. These were handled by ofo’s office in China, which said that “it was a software glitch and [that they] would fix it”.
However, there is currently no one to redirect complaints to as the firm’s externally sourced customer service team had stopped working for them since last November.
Are you affected by errant charges by ofo? Let us know!