It’s been three days since oBike decided to pull out of Singapore, which is totally fine with us because there are just too many of these damn bicycles cluttering the streets anyway. No, what we’re all miffed about is that the bike-sharing company is making it near impossible for its users to get their obligatory $49 deposits refunded.
Amidst surging complaints, angry petitions being signed, and #refundmydeposit hashtags being spread around, TODAY reported that oBike’s Singapore operation is in liquidation. The company’s co-founder Edward Chen said to the publication that he has left the matters to the “local team and also the legal team and the liquidation agent”.
What this means is that the company’s currently redistributing assets and property — and according to legal information platform SingaporeLegalAdvice.com, users are at the bottom of the rung when it comes to paying debts. A “proof of debt” can be filed with oBike’s liquidator to declare that the company owes you money, but the thing is, will oBike even have the funds to settle your claims after they settle their debts of higher-priority with larger creditors?
Let’s say that there are enough assets to settle everyone’s refund. According to a lawyer that TODAY spoke to, the entire process could take more than a year.
“In the meantime if you’re the optimistic sort, you can still contact oBike for a refund. Just don’t get your hopes up too high.”
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) didn’t provide any comfort at all in the wake of customer complaints. LTA is simply handing off the matter about refunds to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) — a non-profit, non-governmental organization without any legislative powers. What CASE can do is simply offer advice and send strongly-worded letters to errant companies.
Sorry for this bummer news everyone — perhaps it’s a nation-wide karmic retribution for letting people thrash, vandalize and abuse shared bikes here.