I’m a big fan and user of the Barclays Boris bike scheme. But a recent incident has left me pretty hacked off with their customer service.

One evening this week, at around 8.30pm, I found a Boris bike key in a docking station. I took it home, making sure that the bike it was next to was properly docked. When I got home, I called the number on the key to report it lost, anticipating that the bike people would deactivate it, and send a new one to the registered user. What a good citizen. Job done.

Instead, the woman on the phone told me to take it to a police station. I said this wasn’t practical, and they should just reissue a new key and I would throw the one I found away. She made a note of the key number, and that was it.

Then the following morning I get a call on the phone. At 9am. This is less than 12 hours after I called the night before. A man from the Barclays Cycle scheme asks me at which police station I have dropped the key in. As if it was my top pre-breakfast priority of the day. I said I didn’t have time. He said that I “had to”. Really? I have to go to the police with a lost bike key? Yes, he said, otherwise the owner might incur a £1.50 charge for a new key.

Now I was angry. I want to be a good citizen and all, but:

  1. I didn’t give the cycle people permission to use my phone number, or even give them my number at all – they have used caller ID, but I’m not too happy about that. Why should they call and pester me?
  2. More importantly, why should I go to my local police station and queue for ages to explain this simple issue? I don’t even know where my local police station is.
  3. Even more importantly, why the hell are the police being used as a lost property office? They already deal with thousands of lost mobiles. I’d rather they solved crimes than acted as a drop-and-pick for bits of kit from TfL.
  4. £1.50 is nothing compared to the charges a malicious person could have racked up by grabbing a bike, and dumping it or running around town with it – there’s a £150 late return charge and £300 for losing a bike. It’s less than the price of a coffee.

So I hung up on him. I still have the key. It’s number 5129215. If someone wants to claim it, they can get in touch with me. Just let me know which bike docking point you left it in, and which night.