In response to Facebook user YP Alex’s complaint that he was being overcharged for causing “very mild” damage to a BlueSG car, the electric car rental company refuted his claim on Monday (2 Oct), stating that the damage was “not insignificant”.
For every story, there are usually three sides: your side, my side, and the truth.
Upon scrutinising the pictures of the car that YP Alex helpfully uploaded on social media, it is highly likely that BlueSG’s assessment of the damages is more accurate.
Sorry YP Alex, but we’re afraid you will need to pay the $9,800 in damages.
On 29 September, YP Alex took to the BlueSG User Group page on Facebook to talk about how he was being charged nearly S$10,000 for “very mild” damages to the vehicle and potentially another S$8,000 to a third-party for excess or repair cost, which may be owed because he had damaged some public property.
In his account, YP Alex claimed that he was bad at parallel parking and another person offered to help him park his car.
However, the person proceeds to step on the accelerator instead of the brake, causing the electric car to hit a garbage can. Purportedly, the car had just started so “the speed was very low”.
From the images provided, the accident completely dislodged the car plate, dented the front bumper, and even caved in the back steel rim.
Furthermore, there are unexplained mud splatters covering the right side of the car.
Honestly, the car looks like it drove into a bumpy ditch, and in its attempt to get out, it rear-ended a fallen tree or something.
Sir, those damages do not look mild, to say nothing of the force required to dent a steel rim.
In an interview with TODAY, head of BlueSG’s Singapore office Jenny Lim said that there were “internal damages to the car, mounting up to the engine level”, but these damages were not immediately visible from the outside.
Although Ms Lim did not have the repair report from the workshop as she was speaking from overseas, she told TODAY that the dashcam footage showed that the car was driven into the foot of a building, and into the bin centre.
YP Alex, a “bin centre” and “garbage can” are two very different things.
Updated Statement From YP Alex
The complainant, Facebook user YP Alex, turns out to be Mr Peng Yuan, a 34-year-old engineer from China.
When speaking to TODAY, he said that the accident happened on 18 August, around 6:30am. He had been driving along Stanley Street, which is a one-way street in the Telok Ayer area.
Mr Yuan reiterated that he had problems parallel parking his car into the designated BlueSG lot.
Since it was a narrow one-way road, Mr Yuan did not want the car to jut out and inconvenience the other motorists.
He alleged that he would usually “take his time” to park the car perfectly, but that morning, there happened to be a garbage truck behind him which gave him “a lot of pressure” to parallel park his car as soon as possible.
Apparently, it was also the garbage truck driver who offered to help him park his car.
Mr Yuan continued to relate that the truck driver stepped on the accelerator instead of the brakes, which caused the car to drive 10 metres forward. Then it went over a curb and slammed into the garbage container mounted on the wall of the building.
It should be noted that Mr Yuan did not mention the curb or the building in his Facebook post.
His description on social media had simply been, “The car hit a garbage can and stopped.”
There’s clearly a lot being understated here.
The Bill From The Wayside
When Mr Yuan initially inspected the car, he thought the car damages were mild at best.
He was no mechanic, so he was very wrong.
He reported the incident to BlueSG’s reporting centre the next day, which is run by the car repair and maintenance service company Indeco Engineers.
Mr Yuan was told by an employee that the repairs would cost around S$1,000 to S$2,000.
This was the reason why Mr Yuan was surprised when he received a notice on 12 September, which showed that he owed BlueSG the following amounts:
- Own Damage Repair Cost – $8495.15
- Third-Party Excess or Repair Cost (Pending) – S$8,000
- Administrative and GST Charges – S$1,274.27
Regardless of whether the person is rich or poor, the total amount is rather shocking.
Mr Yuan stated that the penalty really burns a hole in his wallet and it will push him to the edge of bankruptcy.
Even though the truck driver–who is a work pass holder–has given Mr Yuan his contact details to share the cost, he fears that the truck driver won’t be able to take up the burden as he probably isn’t earning much.
Mr Yuan then claimed that he has contacted BlueSG repeatedly, in hopes that someone will break down the costs for him for the sake of transparency, but no one has called him to do so.
As such, he has not made any payments to BlueSG, and even blocked the electric car-sharing company from making deductions from his credit card.
BlueSG: We Contacted Him To No Avail
In response to his claims, Ms Lim countered that the company has tried to contact him.
Numerous times in fact.
Alas, Mr Yuan refused to pick up the phone.
Who is lying in this scenario then— the company that wants the customer to pay the costs, or the customer who is liable to pay a huge monetary penalty?
Umm, the answer is pretty clear-cut here.
After hearing BlueSG’s response, TODAY approached Mr Yuan again, but he denied receiving any calls. He mentioned that a BlueSG employee had called him last Friday, stating that they will schedule another call with him on Monday, but he claimed that the call never came.
With regards to the discrepancy of the estimated costs and the final bill, Ms Lim explained that the accident reporting centre’s employee who first attended to Mr Yuan was in no position to estimate the costs of the repairs because the vehicle had not gone through a comprehensive inspection yet.
The chief executive officer of BlueSG, Mr Kelvin Tay, added that the company has no control over how much the workshop charges for repairs.
Nevertheless, BlueSG has already paid Indeco Engineers the amount owed for the repairs, so Mr Yuan has to pay BlueSG.
Digging A Deeper Grave
Worse, because Mr Yuan personally admitted to allowing another individual to drive the BlueSG car, his violation of the firm’s terms and conditions means that the insurance cannot cover the cost of the repairs.
Otherwise, Mr Yuan would only have to pay an excess amount of S$5,000.
In Section 4.5.11 of the BlueSG’s Terms and Conditions, it states, “You may NOT, under any circumstances, access or operate the BlueSG Car or allow anyone to access or operate it: (h) to be operated by anyone other than You whether or not for a fee.”
If the user is found in violation of these Terms and Conditions, their failure will give rise to their “full indemnification of BlueSG for any resulting harm or damage that may occur, and the user shall not be eligible for Insurance Cover.
Regarding the third-party charges, it is actually referring to the cost of damages done to the building via the car crash.
Ms Lim stated that the building owner is still assessing the damage with BlueSG’s insurers and will send the bill later.
When Ms Lim was informed that Mr Yuan was seeking a breakdown of the repair costs, Ms Lim said, “We had no clue what he wanted”.
She reiterated that BlueSG’s employees have tried to contact Mr Yuan numerous times but to no avail.
As a matter of fact, they only became aware of what Mr Yuan wanted after he complained about it on social media.
While the request sounds reasonable, she said that no motor insurance company will provide the insured client with an exhaustive breakdown of every cost incurred.
However, if Mr Yuan had asked about it, Ms Lim said that the firm would have been willing to tell him what were the items that needed to be repaired.
If a customer is having trouble making the payments for car repairs, BlueSG can allow its customer to pay by instalments, but this is on a case-by-case basis.
Lastly, Ms Lim stated that BlueSG hopes that it can have an “ongoing engagement” with Mr Yuan.
This implies that BlueSG only knows about Mr Yuan’s stance because social media and TODAY is acting as their middleman.
In all likelihood, Mr Yuan will have to pay for damages.
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