Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 12 Jan 2021
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a charge incurred for a bike hire. This is because the problem has been resolved.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, says the Authority overcharged him by £72 for a journey using a hired bike. Mr X wants a refund and compensation.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if the problem has been resolved. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I read the complaint and the Authority’s response. I found out that after complaining to the Ombudsman the Authority gave Mr X a refund. I invited Mr X to comment on a draft of this decision.
What I found
- The Authority charged £72 for a bike journey that Mr X says should have cost £4. Mr X asked for a refund. He said he had docked at Shoreditch docking station. He said he was not sure of the colour of the light on the docking station when he returned the bike.
- The Authority initially refused his refund request. This was because he could not confirm the light had turned green when he returned the bike.
- After some more email exchanges the Authority found out that Mr X had docked at a different docking station to the one he had named in his original refund request. The Authority found out there was a technical problem with the docking station where he had left the bike. The Authority issued a £70 refund. The Authority did not refund £72 because it said Mr X had incurred a £2 extra ride charge later in the day.
- I will not start an investigation because the Authority has provided a refund for the problem caused by the docking station. Mr X has asked for compensation for his stress in trying to resolve the problem. However, it is not necessary to ask for compensation because everyone has to invest some time in trying to resolve a problem. In addition, Mr X may have received the refund more quickly if he had named the right docking station and been clearer about the colour of the light when he docked.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman