oBike working on refunding user deposits and collecting remaining bicycles

oBike said on July 1, 2018, that it would announce the entire refund process for users once details are finalised. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Bike-sharing firm oBike, which abruptly shut down operations last week, is working closely with relevant parties on a solution to refund its users their deposits.

The Chinese-founded company, in a statement on Sunday (July 1) afternoon, apologised for the inconvenience caused to all affected parties, and is working towards solving concerns raised over the past week.

Its closure left users wondering whether they would get a refund of the deposit, of up to $49, that they had to make to use its bikes.

As of 5pm last Friday (June 29), the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) had received 884 complaints from consumers asking for oBike to return their deposits.

oBike assured users that the entire refund process will be announced once details are finalised.

Last Monday (June 25), oBike unexpectedly announced that it was stopping its operations in Singapore.

The company, which has been given a deadline of July 4 by the authorities to clear its fleet of at least 14,000 bicycles, is working with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to collect all remaining idle oBikes still strewn all over the island. "We will have further discussions with LTA if we are unable to collect the bicycles in the given time frame," it added.

oBike also said it is working closely with the Personal Data Protection Commission over its next course of action. It assured users that user data will not be sold or used for any other purpose other than for the oBike service.

oBike's surprise move comes three weeks after another operator, GBikes, said it would stop its Singapore services from this month.

When announcing its closure, oBike said it foresaw difficulties in meeting LTA's new licensing requirements for the bike-sharing sector. The licensing regime, announced in March, set such standards as capping the number of bicycles offered by each firm and ensuring their users do not park the bicycles indiscriminately.

On Sunday, the company, which began operations in Singapore in January last year, added that it is "fully committed to solve these issues to ensure proper closure for our stakeholders in Singapore".

It added: "We would like to apologise once again for the inconvenience cause to all parties."

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