Friday, 8 June 2018

Has Obike taken your $49 deposit without informing you?

If you've ever used Obike before, open your app and check NOW.

Because the chances are, your $49 deposit is probably gone.

There's a high probability that Obike has sneakily, without your consent, taken your $49 deposit to purchase their "Super VIP plan" for 1095 days.

According to a reader of mine, X, who tipped me off about this, this happened to her earlier this year in April...and she only discovered it today, two months later. Mind you, there was no notification to inform her that her deposit was gone.

A quick glance at Facebook and Reddit shows that she's not the only affected victim.


I'm not among the affected users because a few months ago, I had already sent in a request for the refund of my $49 deposit. And nope, I STILL haven't seen the refund credited back to my account. Neither am I the only one, if you simply head over to Obike's Facebook page here to see how many people are complaining that it has been months and they aren't receiving their refunds either.





14 days my ass. LOL.
X opened her app today and was greeted by the mobile version of their SVIP membership announcement, similar to the one below:


I LOL-ed at "No deposits needed" because clearly, Obike has taken the deposits sitting in idle accounts to purchase the SVIP on her behalf, that is. 

A further look into her account's purchase history revealed this:




Here are some snippets of my conversation with X this morning:

They will tell you that you are 'upgraded' to supervip when you first log in. And only when you check your transaction statement you can see that they actually took your deposit to buy that plan without your knowledge.


Yeah ikr!! At time when I agreed in Aug, there probably wasn't this membership thing.
How can you have a refundable deposit then a auto membership thing??
I didn't even have the app install on my phone on 19/4, and I did not receive any notification either.
My 'refundable' deposit is now $0 which means that I have no money to take out anymore cos they used it to buy this plan.

Thus, if you look through your account, you might realise that Obike didn't "automatically" upgrade you to Super VIP (like what they claim when you open the app and log in)...what they did was to use YOUR deposit to purchase it. Without your consent. Without notifying you.

Is this even legal?!?!

Unfortunately, yes, because of this clause in their terms and conditions:


It may be legal, but it most definitely is unethical (in my view).

But hey, there are ethical and unethical businesses around. There are also transparent and not-so-transparent businesses around.

At the end of the day, it is up to us consumers to call out businesses who carry out such unethical / non-transparent practices, so that they'll be held accountable for what they've done. Hopefully, as more people do this, over time, businesses with better and more transparent business practices will then prevail. 

Let businesses know that they don't get to do things like this and get away with it.


What should I do if I've been affected?

I'm not sure if emailing Obike will work, but someone I know who made a fuss on Obike's Facebook page about how dishonest this whole thing is has successfully gotten a response from the team and her SVIP membership cancelled, with her $49 going back into deposit mode. She has since requested for the refund of the deposit as well, but like I shared with her, who knows how long that will take, considering my own personal experience and that of many others who are still waiting for our refunds after MONTHS.

So here's what I would suggest:
  • Leave a comment or private message on Obike's Facebook page stating you're against this practice too since you never consented to such a purchase, nor were you even informed of it.
  • Request for the cancellation of your SVIP membership and for your $49 to be returned as deposit
  • It is up to you whether you want to then, in addition, ask for your $49 "refundable deposit" to be returned to your account.


Update: Here's Obike's response.

Considering how the "technical lapse" occurred from as early as April 2018 and Obike is only coming out to apologise today after the whole thing blew out of proportion on Reddit and on their Facebook...is it really a sincere apology or more like a I'm sorry we got caught? Because that's what it sounds like to me.

Moreover, this has been going on for quite some time now. A few of my friends just found that they were also affected, and their app history show that the purchase was made at different times from April till now. So...was this technical lapse persistent for months, and only discovered now? I find that hard to believe, frankly.

In fact, Obike's "apology" sounds just about as sincere as this recent apology by another local Singapore influencer, who went on to write an entire "apology" letter (only after she received over 100 comments slamming her for her original post cyber-bullying which she has since removed, but you can still have a gist of what she did that was so wrong when you look at the comments) while tagging the whole world except the person she claimed to be apologising to. Lol.


Businesses (and folks), this is NOT how you do an apology.

With love,
Budget Babe

2 comments:

  1. I requested for my deposit refund late Jan 2018 as I don't feel too confident about their business. After a few emails, I finally got it back in Apr 2018.

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    Replies
    1. Lucky! I requested earlier this year and have yet to get mine back :( not too hopeful, given how long it has taken them!

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