oBike finally publicly apologises for exit, addresses deposit and data matters

oBike Singapore has apologised publicly over the recent drama surrounding its exit. This was said in a statement adding that it is currently looking into varying user and authority concerns, including the sale of user data, following the liquidation of its assets locally, multiple media reported, as well as user deposits.

“We understand that the recent decision to cease operations in Singapore has caused problems and raised concerns to many parties and we would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to all affected parties,” the statement said.

Over the refunding of user deposits from their oBike accounts, the company said it is working closely with relevant parties on a solution to refund user deposits. The entire refund process will be announced once details are finalised, oBike said. Meanwhile, it has also acknowledged that it is working with the Land Transport Authority to remove idle oBike bicycles around the country by 4 July 2018.

The company also got into a fair bit of drama with consumers for its lack of communications in how riders would be refunded, which resulted in a #refundmydeposit hashtag making its rounds. The company's communications with customers was also deemed as lacklustre by PR professionals.

oBike's sudden exit has also prompted rival Mobike to waive its SG$49 deposit policy for Singapore users as well, Channel NewsAsia reported. The deposit was initially introduced to ensure proper use of its bicycles, which the company views no longer as necessary as Singapore users are now using the bikes properly in Singapore. Marketing has reached out to Mobike for additional details.

oBike announced its Singapore exit last week, citing difficulties to fulfil new requirements and guidelines released by LTA towards dock-less bicycle sharing in Singapore. The decision however, did not affect oBike’s operation in countries outside of Singapore.

As of last week, CASE received 772 complaints from consumers asking for a refund of their deposit with oBike Asia. These complaints comprised filed, assisted and counselled cases, including phone enquiries and email feedback, an advisory read.