Consumer Protection Committee Seeks to Clarify Bike Rental Agreements

Taipei YouBike

The Consumer Protection Committee of the Executive Yuan will seek to make bicycle rental agreements clearer for consumers, but a finalized contract from the Ministry of Transportation won’t be ready until May at the earliest, CNA reported.

There are four categories that Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Committee seeks to address in standardizing bike rental contracts, including rental costs, lost tickets, locked tickets and accidents. The revised, clear rental contracts would also apply to YouBikes across Taiwan.

The Chen Hsing-Hung (陳星宏), head of the consumer protection office, said that in recent years, municipalities and counties received bike rental consumer complaints, with the common complaints related to “rental information is unknown,” “lost ticket charges,” “rental ticket locked/cannot be verified” and “dealing with accidents/falls.”

The bike rental industry, including YouBike, allows in its contract a five-minute window after renting a bike to return it without being charged.

Chen added that the Consumer Protection Committee and the Ministry of Transport have developed a bicycle rental contract draft that states what should and should not be included in such contracts to ensure consumer rights are protected. The draft will be discussed in May.

He said that within the draft contract, bicycles will be defined as “pedal bike,” “electric-assisted bicycle” and “electric bicycle.” The contract will also note the name of the person renting the bike along with insurance information.

In addition, the bike rental contract draft will likely indicate that the rental company should disclose the condition of the bike, including height and age. The bike body should note the service phone and emergency phone number, and provide at least a five-minute window after rental for bike inspection. If consumers find the bike body is different from what is stated, it can returned to the original leasing station and the company may not charge fees.

However, during the leasing period, if the consumer is found to be responsible for damages, resulting from violating traffic laws or other causes, or if the bike is lost, consumers will be liable to pay for the damage or loss.

Chen suggested that consumers take note of conditions in a contract before renting a bike in Taiwan. He also reminds them to check the condition of the bike before taking it out and to abide by traffic laws to prevent possible accidents for which the rider may be responsible.

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