Donation not clients' cash, says Octopus

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 4:58am

Octopus Cards said yesterday that the company had not donated money from incomplete customer transactions collected since 2009, a day after admitting that some card-holders might have accidentally paid twice.

"We didn't donate that money. The donation was from our company," chief executive Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong said as he sought to clarify inaccurate reports yesterday.

The company reportedly donated about HK$5.6 million to charity. Card-holders criticised the company for using their money without permission.

But Cheung said the money collected from the botched transactions was being kept in its accounts for possible refund to card-holders, although it would donate the same amount to charity. He said that removing an Octopus card too quickly from a reader could lead to an incomplete transaction.

"The money will still be debited from their [the customer's] cards, but the shop's terminal will show an incomplete transaction. If the buyers are then asked to pay in cash instead, they would be making a double payment."

He said the fault was only spotted when the company renewed its system in 2009. Records before then were no longer available, so buyers who double-paid before then could not be identified. "If buyers kept their shopping receipts or other proof, they can come to us and receive a refund," Cheung said.

The firm collected about HK$7.7 million from incomplete transactions since 2009.

It revealed the figure at a press conference on Thursday when introducing a self-service facility recently installed in 30 high-traffic locations, including MTR stations, bus terminals and shopping malls. Apart from allowing card-holders to check their remaining credit, reward balances and latest transactions, the machines can provide automatic refunds if incomplete transactions are detected on the card.

"If you find a shop's terminal shows an incomplete transaction, please tap your card to the reader again to make it complete," Cheung said.