Those “teething troubles” with the cycle hire billing aren’t getting any better.

London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi has experienced the arbitrary nature of the charges applied to his credit card by the cycle hire scheme billing and this afternoon we read that another user of the cycle hire scheme has had £900 debited from their bank account:

It was not until the billing date, last week that I discovered that £900 had been debited from my current account. No, that’s not a typo, I don’t mean £90, NINE HUNDRED POUNDS.

On the first of the month when all my direct debits are due. It’s now 8 days later, the money is not back in my account. I spoke to them this morning and they assured me again (the same thing they said last week) that it would be in my account in 3-5 banking days and that they would send me an email confirming this (they said that last week too). So far no email even though on the phone the supervisor said “I am sending it now”.

Luckily, so far my bank has been pretty good though I am miles overdrawn.

I’m hoping that I will actually get the money back next week and then I will be sending them quite a large bill for my returned direct debit fees, other bank fees and my phone bill for the hours I have spent on the phone to them and my bank trying to sort this out.

It would seem that the “glitches” are a long way from being solved. £900 may be less than chickenfeed to the Mayor, but not to most Londoners.

UPDATE: Assembly Member Val Shawcross (and Chair of the Assembly Transport Committee) has just tweeted the following:

Cycle hire call centre deny all knowledge of my year’s fee payment despite me having paid over the phone and been sent a key. Chaotic.

FURTHER UPDATE: From the blog of Tom Edwards, BBC London’s Transport Correspondent, an email from a user who attempted to use the cycle hire scheme yesterday and experienced contrary advice from the  “helpline” when they finally managed to get through, rude staff who were openly laughing at customers unable to dock their hire bikes and left them standing around at docking stations for hours on end, despite Boris Johnson’s claim that, during the Tube strike, he had:

…asked TfL to pull out all the stops

As this unfortunate bike-hirer describes it:

What was simply a lack of foresight and proper planning became a customer service disaster.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The BBC have reported on the story.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall tweeted yesterday:

Feckin marvellous. A £450 “adjustment” has popped up on my #Borisbike #Serco account. Where’s #Kulveer when u need him?

TfL last week, commenting on the £900 taken from a user’s account:

“We have been assured by Serco that these members have now had, or are about to have, their money paid back into their bank accounts, and that they have all been offered compensation for the inconvenience they have experienced.

Serco have put in place measures to make sure this issue with their billing system doesn’t happen again.”

Quite astonishing.

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