The Octopus Card company will speed up its response to reports of lost cards, starting from Monday. At present, users who lose their personalised Octopus cards are liable for all the value their banks add automatically in the six hours after they report the cards missing. This will be shortened to three hours, the company announced yesterday. The lost card reporting service is applicable to both personalised Octopus holders and automatic add-value service users. The change comes after the Consumer Council warned that automatic add-value service users could be HK$1,000 poorer in six hours if they lose their Octopus card and someone shops with it. This assumes the card user has a balance of HK$499 and has the automatic add-value service with a limit of HK$500. The company is also offering instant cash refunds for users who hand their cards in. Holders of cards with a remaining value of less than HK$500 can get the money and the HK$50 deposit right away. In the past, they had to apply for a refund. In the fourth quarter of this year, a new, standard Octopus card will be introduced. In 2009 and last year, the council received 50 and 62 complaints, respectively, relating to the cards, mostly over disputed charges. Some reported that transport interchange discounts did not work, and others claimed they were repeatedly charged by retailers for a single item.