SINGAPORE: BlueSG, the car-sharing service, issued an apology last Friday for the inconveniences experienced by users due to recent glitches in its app stemming from a “systems migration update” on 19 December.
However, despite the initial apology, frustration among BlueSG users escalated as system disruptions persisted through the Christmas weekend.
Several users shared screenshots on social media displaying excessive bills, some exceeding S$2,000, for rentals spanning over 48 hours, despite actually using the service for shorter durations.
These incidents sparked widespread criticism, prompting inquiries into the company’s oversight. There were calls for both The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to intervene and investigate the dissatisfaction among users.
Last Friday, BlueSG said then that “immediate action” had been taken to address the problem and identify affected trips that had exceeded 48 hours, for which rental fees would be waived as part of its “service recovery process”.
The company further stated their ongoing diligence in monitoring the situation. They affirmed their commitment to addressing outstanding issues and implementing preventive measures to avoid similar occurrences in the future.
“We want to assure you that customer satisfaction remains at the top of our priority and would like to express our gratitude for your understanding, loyalty and continued support.”
However, during the Christmas weekend, BlueSG users continued to encounter persistent issues with the service.
In the “BlueSG Users Group” on Facebook, a member highlighted a concerning incident. He revealed being charged SGD 2290.6 for a rental since last Friday and expressed frustration over making three calls to the company, each lasting over 2.5 minutes, without receiving any response.
Another user reportedly faced a charge of over S$1800 for a trip on 24 December, following the apologies issued by BlueSG the previous Friday for the app glitches.
In a separate incident, a user rented a BlueSG vehicle from Blk 261 Punggol Way and parked at Lot 1 Shopping Centre in CCK on 19 December. However, he encountered difficulties in ending the rental at the kiosk.
Despite making six attempts to contact customer service, he could only reach a representative after multiple tries.
The user was assured by the representative that the company would conclude his rental and charge him solely for the duration from when he started the engine in Punggol to when he turned it off at the final destination.
Regrettably, as of 21 December, he shared that his app still indicated that the rental was ongoing. Additionally, other BlueSG users who managed to terminate their rentals were charged excessively on their BlueSG accounts.
BlueSG CEO ensures review of affected trips to prevent overcharging
As reported by TODAY, Mr Kelvin Tay, CEO of BlueSG, acknowledged that the company had faced service disruptions due to “recent glitches” in their new app.
“This was due to unexpected technical complexities stemming from the systems migration updates from 19 December alongside integration challenges with some of our external vendors, including incidents during this festive peak season,” he added.
Expressing regret, Mr Tay apologized for the frustration and inconvenience experienced by some users.
He assured that BlueSG would not process card payments for affected trips until each one was individually reviewed to prevent overcharging.
User feedback advocates penalties for service failures
Regarding comments on CNA’s Facebook post, several users highlighted additional charges and criticized BlueSG’s inadequate response to affected users’ concerns.
For instance, one user revealed being billed $345 for a 17-hour period, coupled with a booking error that prevented them from collecting the reserved car. Subsequently, the user received a S$5 penalty days later for not collecting the car initially booked.
Several users have expressed frustration with what they perceive as a recurring trend of major companies providing subpar customer service, particularly in Singapore, a country known for priding itself on its first-world standards.
Comments also suggested the implementation of penalties for system failures that result in monetary losses for customers, aiming to protect consumer rights.
One netizen emphasized the inherent risk in conducting significant technical migrations or upgrades right before major festive holidays, stating that experienced tech leaders would advise against such plans.
On a BlueSG Facebook post, a suggestion emerged that the company should temporarily halt all new rentals to contain potential damage and prioritize fixing the underlying issues.
It was highlighted that a widespread issue persists without any visible mitigation efforts.
Another netizen recommended that affected users file a report with CASE and involve the LTA to address this serious lapse.
Citing multiple shortcomings, including the collection of user subscriptions without providing a reliable service, a netizen accused BlueSG of fraudulent practices.
He pointed out issues such as non-functional customer hotlines, unfulfilled promises, unjust charges, and leaving customers stranded without alternative travel arrangements, branding these actions as public nuisances.
“Are we really that reliant on BlueSG’s service that we can let them get away with all these atrocities?” the user questioned.
In a satirical yet thought-provoking comment, a netizen highlighted a peculiar transport dilemma faced by Singaporeans.
He humorously illustrated the cycle: when desiring to purchase a car but unable to afford one, the alternative is to rent a car. However, when attempting to rent a car, if the system malfunctions, the next choice is to resort to ride-hailing services like Grab or taxis.
Nevertheless, with the fares for ride-hailing services increasing, individuals might feel compelled to turn to public transportation. But, unfortunately, public transport fares are also on the rise, coupled with longer waiting times and frequent disruptions.
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