Consumer Advisory - oBike: Affected consumers to file Proof of Debt with appointed liquidator
 

The Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) understands that oBike Asia Pte Ltd (“oBike”) will be appointing an independent liquidator to handle the distribution of their assets and remaining affairs. Upon commencement of the liquidation, there will be a stay of proceedings on all litigation action. This means that any claim by consumers against oBike will not be able to proceed.

Once the company is in liquidation, affected consumers should file their Proofs of Debt against oBike with the appointed liquidator. Consumers should also attach copies of any relevant receipts or other supporting documents to the Proof of Debt form. Those who are unsure about how to file Proof of Debt may contact CASE for further assistance (hotline: 6100 0315, website: www.case.org.sg).

Meanwhile, affected consumers who have paid a deposit/membership fee to oBike via their credit card should contact their card issuer immediately and ask for a chargeback. Please note that this only applies for transactions entered in the last 120 days. For more information on lodging a chargeback, please refer to CASE’s Chargeback Guide for Consumers.

As a general principle, we encourage consumers to minimise their prepayments/deposits where possible, as their advance payment may be lost in the event of an abrupt business closure. Consumers who have reservations about paying a deposit may wish to consider other bike-sharing options that do not require a deposit payment or reduce their risk by choosing a “per use” option, where they pay a small amount of money each time they use the bike-sharing service. They should also look out for businesses that offer protection for their prepayment/deposit.

*Update [6 July 2018]: oBike has appointed Mr Joshua James Taylor and Mr Yit Chee Wah of FTI Consulting as their provisional liquidators on 5 July 2018. As oBike had previously committed to raise funds from alternative sources (e.g. their shareholders) to provide a full refund of consumers’ deposits, CASE will work closely with the Land Transport Authority to understand from the liquidators if the liquidation process poses any obstacles behind oBike’s pledge to provide a full deposit refund to consumers. Consumers are advised to wait for an update from the company or the liquidators on the refund process before filing for a refund.

*Update [12 July 2018]: The provisional liquidators of oBike have announced that affected consumers with existing deposits with oBike should submit their claim together with their relevant supporting documents (e.g. credit card/PayPal statements) online at www.obikedepositholders.com as soon as possible. The liquidators will examine and adjudicate on all claims received. Consumers who are unsure about the submission of claims may contact CASE for further assistance (hotline: 6100 0315, website: www.case.org.sg).

Consumer Advisory - oBike: Consumers who paid with credit cards to lodge chargeback request with card issuer
 

In view of oBike Asia Pte Ltd’s (“oBike”) termination of operations in Singapore, the Consumers Association of Singapore (“CASE”) would like to advise consumers who had paid via credit card to the company within the last 120 days to lodge a chargeback request with their card issuer as soon as possible.

A chargeback is an existing form of consumer protection which allows credit card users to dispute a charge and reverse the transaction should a purchase goes awry. oBike consumers who wish to obtain a refund of their deposit and/or membership fees paid should lodge the following chargeback(s) with their card issuer:

Issue Type of Chargeback Reason
Refund of Deposit Goods/Services Not Received Consumers had placed a $49 deposit to use the bicycle-sharing service provided by oBike. However, this service is no longer available.
SVIP Membership Goods/Services Received or Rendered but Not as Described/ Defective/ Returned  Consumers had purchased the Super VIP (SVIP) membership with the predominant goal of unlimited free rides in Singapore, in addition to across all oBike-operating countries. However, free rides in Singapore are no longer available.

For more information on lodging a chargeback, please refer to CASE’s Chargeback Guide for Consumers.

CASE is deeply concerned about the abrupt decision by oBike to cease operations in Singapore and its failure to provide clarity to consumers about their deposit paid and/or membership purchased. oBike is still contractually obligated to provide a refund to consumers if they are not able to deliver the promised bicycle-sharing service and we expect them to do so.

We have reached out to oBike to verify the number of consumers with an existing deposit and/or membership as well as their plans for refunding consumers and will provide an update in due course. Meanwhile, we urge consumers with unresolved disputes to contact us for further assistance (hotline: 6100 0315, website: www.case.org.sg).

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