What happens if the rented bikes can not be returned on time, or if the fixing of the bike has not happened correctly? Can the company charge transport usage fee in such cases? Consumers have asked these questions several times during the Arbitration Board of Budapest’s procedure which indicates that they are not fully aware of what they can or can not do when a problem arises. In one case, according to the consumer’s request, he and his friends took 4 bicycles out in Gárdonyi square, which they deposited in St. Gellért square 15 minutes before the expiry of the loan period. With 3 bikes, there wasn’t any problem, but somehow the system has not detected the return of the 4th. After that, the consumer was still able to rent a bike that night, but not on the next day. Then he telephoned to the BKK Centre, where they informed him that one of their colleagues noticed that the system did not accept the return of the bike, so 29 55 HUF user fee had been generated. He also submitted his objection through the Bubi website, because he carried out the return of the bicycle the usual way, therefore the businesses claim is not legitimate. He also referred to the fact that he was not informed – and according to their website, it is their duty- that because of the deduction of tolls, his balance on the Bubi card submerged. According to the business, the bike was unlocked for several hours and anyone could have taken it away, so their claim is legitimate, since the error occurred because of the consumers fault. In another similar case, according to the consumers claim, he and his friend dropped down two bikes at the BUBI station in Döbröntei square, but despite their proper actions, the bicycles had not been adopted by the station. One of the businesses workers detected the mistake at 8:45 AM the next day. Because of the above, the BKK Co. fined them with a 25 500 HUF fine each. They considered the fine unfair, because the two bikes have not been disappeared and they weren’t used for 10 hours, so no damage has emerged. The docks were blocked off, but otherwise there was no clear information that the BUBI station hadn’t worked that day. Döbrentei Square was closed that day, they notified the consumers on their Facebbok page and in their terminals, they covered the docks and on the station’s website (molbubi.bkk.hu) the pictogram showed 0 available bikes on that particular station. For this reason, they said that the imposed punishment is legitimate, so that the consumer’s claim is not justified. In both cases an agreement was reached through the arbitration board proceedings, based on the fair offers of the business. These contracts are specific consumer contracts, in which a consumer signs the General Terms and Conditions of BKK Co. and also a lease of public bicycle rental. The MOL Bubi public bike system can be used with a ticket or a card. According to the website’s information, there are 24h, 72h and weekly tickets. If the consumer uses a ticket, then he has to enter the user ID and a PIN at the sensor in the back of the selected bike. If a consumer uses a card, then it has to be touched upon the sensor at the back of the card. The bicycle can be removed when the dock’s green light and the beep sound indicates it. The detailed rules about the usage and the return of the bicycle can be found on the website. What does the law and the GCC says? According to Act V. of 2013 on the Civil Code, general terms and conditions constitute the terms and conditions, which had been set out by its user primarily and unilaterally, without the other party’s involvement, for the purpose of concluding a number of contracts, and it has not been negotiated individually by the parties. It is the applying party’s duty to prove that a contract term has been individually negotiated by the parties. It will become a part of the contract if its applier makes it possible for the other party to be aware of its content before signing the contract and if it is accepted by this other party. The other party have to be informed separately about a condition if it is significantly different from the law or the customary business practice, unless it complies with the established practice between the parties. The other party also have to be separately informed about the general contractiong conditions which is different from the condition previously used by the parties. Such conditions will become part of the contract if the other party has expressly accepted them after being informed about it separately. According to point VI. 2. 3. of the Bubi system GCC, the maximum duration of the lease is 6 hours, this is the term one can contractually possess a bike, after that the company may claim user charges, the rate of which is also regulated in the Terms and Conditions. If a user parks a bike (i.e. stop at a convenience store), close it and then leave it for a while, and in this period the bike disappear or damage occurs, the user would be responsible for it of course. In this case, the BKK can not check if the user was cautious enough (for ex. closed the vehicle in the right way). In such cases, the company can charge an additional several tens of thousands as user charges. What should the consumers be aware of?
- In order to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future, always be sure that the system senses the return of the bike!
- The detailed rules and conditions related to the payment and the lease can be found on the MOL Bubi’s website (molbubi.bkk.hu). Before you rent a bike, you should also study through the Terms and Conditions!
- If you have any problem related to the renting procedure, make an announcement in person or on the phone to the BKK Customer service department or in writing to molbubi.bkk.hu website.