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• Thursday, June 07th, 2012

How much would you pay to rent a bicycle for 24 hours from Bixi, the bike sharing service? According to the Bixi customer service manager “Francesco”, $101.50 is an appropriate charge to rent 1 bike for 1 day. That’s right, Bixi charges over $100 to rent a heavy, clunky, 3-speed bike for one day.

That’s what I learned after after inspecting my credit card bill online:

Bixi sucks, misleads consumer

 I then called Bixi to have this clearly outrageous situation corrected. The listed price on every Bixi terminal is $7 for a 24 hour period, or so I thought:

Bixi is expensive

But since I failed to understand their strange rules and pricing scheme, I was charged over $100! This is completely misleading since in big, bold and red letters it says, “24h $7“. According to Bixi, customers are required to return the bike every half an hour, or else face this type of larcenous billing.

To rent a car for 1 day costs about $50, including all taxes and fees. So, why would anyone rent a bike for $100 for one day? It is stupid (or intentionally deceptive) and defeats the purpose of Bixi which I thought was to make the air cleaner and Montreal a more sustainable city.

It’s sad to see these marketing tactics from a company that positions itself as green and sustainable. You expect deceptive pricing from the cable TV company or from a mobile phone company, but Bixi?

So, please learn from my mistake and Bixi’s misleading signs. If you want to rent a bike for any length of time longer than 30 minutes, completely avoid Bixi. For two 1-day rentals you would be better off financially buying a new bike at a department store.

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8 Responses

  1. 1
    Jacques 

    Hi,
    The main purpose ob Bixi is to offer bikes for short commutes.
    It is not intended for long-lasting rentals. I won’t defend how they market it on their signs though, since I actually never read it (I am a member).

    When you wite “To rent a car for 1 day costs about $50, including all taxes and fees. So, why would anyone rent a bike for $100 for one day?”, well, nobody should rent a single bixi for one day. Instead, re-use your card, and rent a different bikes as many times as you want during the 24 hours.

    I do not think Bixi wants to screw you with that model. I believe that they prefer that you return your bike many times a day so that other can use it, instead of keeping a bike for yourself all day.

    That being said, I think that Bixi should be more flexible on first time users that did not understand that well. Sorry you end up with that bill.

  2. Yes, totally misleading!!!!! That’s shitty that they can’t clearly state what you are getting. I wonder how many other people got “screwed” the same way. I hope they do change their style because I love the eco-bixi…super idea!

  3. 3
    Jennifer Levett 

    As I read it, there is nothing misleading about the sign.
    At the very top of the sign it says:
    Casual subscription + Extra Usage fees for EACH TRIP (empahisis mine)
    24h $7 + 0-30 min included 31-60 min $1.75

    There are even examples of how charges add up.

    I’m sorry that you ended up with the bill that you did, but as per the pricing description on the sign I don’t think you understood what it actually said. That said, bixi could have been a little more understanding.

  4. Ms. Levett,
    Absolutely I did not read all the fine print. But when you need to pick up a replacement bicycle quickly for the day, and plan to spend only $7, reading the fine print is not a part of the plan.

    Now that I know Bixi uses deceptive pricing, and does not cater to trips greater than 30 minutes, I know to use Communauto car sharing in the future. It’s just such a wasted opportunity to do good and it is so simple to fix by changing their pricing for longer trips.

  5. it’s totally misleading. someone should bring a class-action lawsuit against them, because you are not the first. and that can be extended to every city the Bixi system is used, and all other bike-share systems. it’ll probably take a lawsuit to stop this fraudulent practice.

  6. 6
    Jacques 

    Come on Peter… you must be American to immediately see “fraudulent practice” and the possibility for class-action lawsuit.

    I read the sign in the above image and somehow, the “Example 1″ and “Example 2″ seem pretty clear to me. If you can read French, of course…

    Mark, when you write “need to pick up a replacement bicycle quickly for the day”, do not pick a Bixi for the day! It will cost you too much, and, most importantly, you prevent other users from using that bike for short commutes during that day!

  7. 7
    Jessica 

    It sucks that you were charged so much, and I can imagine how fristrating it is when a misunderstanding is so expensive. But I have to be honest, I don’t think you can lay much blame on the ‘marketing tactics’ of the company for what was clearly your own mistake. I used Bixi recently, having no grasp of French to help me understand the signs, and it was pretty clear to me that it was going to cost me extra if I took the bike out for more than 30 minutes. And it was also clear that it would be a lot extra. The signs are very clear, no deception intended. If you choose to be in too much of a hurry to read more than two words when renting anything (like a Communauto car for instance) then you should expect to experience some consequences sometimes.

  8. 8
    Marc 

    You made a mistake. You rented a bixi without reading the sign completely. Be responsible, admit it and move on. Bixi isn’t new, you could have at least ask someone. That’s highly irresponsible.

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