LTA's advice, help on oBike issue need to be more practical

I refer to the report on oBike (27 complaints against oBike this year: Case; June 26).

The statement by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) advised affected users to "request a refund of their deposit from oBike, and those facing difficulties in getting a refund may wish to approach Case through its hotline on 6100-0315, or submit their feedback online".

As an oBike user, this statement only adds to my frustration.

I would have expected LTA to be more aware of the situation on the ground than to simply make statements from their ivory tower.

First, there is no way to "request a refund" through oBike's phone app.

Second, LTA's suggestion that we approach the Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) is also mind-boggling.

I looked at Case's website and the fees are disproportionate to the deposits we are looking at. A typical user would have made a deposit of $49 with oBike. For Case to take up the matter, it would charge the complainant an administrative fee of $10.70 to write a letter to oBike on the complainant's behalf. This admin fee is already approximately 22 per cent of the deposit, with no guarantee of a refund being made.

While I appreciate LTA's attempt to help affected users, any advice given should be practical.

For example, Case and LTA may offer some form of collective action for the affected users, where the administrative fees are borne by the group as a whole.This is both practical and fair in view of the small amounts being claimed.

Linus Koh Ngee Soon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2018, with the headline 'LTA's advice, help on oBike issue need to be more practical'. Print Edition | Subscribe