Hong Kong utilities warned customers against settling their service bills through unauthorized electronic payment service providers.
In separate statements, Hongkong Electric Co. Ltd., CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd. and The Hong Kong and China Gas Co. Ltd. (Towngas) said they have never authorized TnG to help their customers pay or transfer service fees, Apple Daily reported on Tuesday.
Hongkong Electric said it was never contacted by TnG, which offers a mobile app that allegedly allows customers to pay their service bills instantly.
On the Facebook page of TnG, several registered users expressed fears that the app could be a scam.
They said they paid their electricity and gas bills via the TnG app last Wednesday, but the fees had not been credited to their accounts yet.
Responding to media enquiries, TnG founder Alex Kong admitted that it has not yet entered into any form of cooperation with Hongkong Electric, and they are helping users pay their electricity bills manually.
Kong said the idea was to help users pay their electricity and gas bills within three days, but the response was so overwhelming that his team simply could not cope, hence the delays in payments.
He promised to sit down with Hongkong Electric to work out a cooperation and allow automatic payments.
Kong said the company will apologize to affected users and state clearly the risks involved in using its payment app.
Legislator Charles Mok said TnG users run the risk of overdue payments should TnG fail to settle their bills on time by hand.
Mok said app developers should reach an agreement with the utilities before rolling out such payment services.
The Consumer Council has issued a warning, telling users to avoid downloading and using payment apps unless the background and reliability of the companies behind them have been verified.
Earlier, TnG teamed up with retail chain 759 Store to offer its users a complimentary credit of HK$100 if they top up their TnG accounts for HK$100 at a 759 Store.
However, some of those who availed themselves of the promotional offer complained that the bonus amount was not credited to their accounts.
759 Store owner Lam Wai-chung said in the wake of its experience with TnG, the snacks and grocery chain operator will be more careful in choosing its joint-promotion partners.
TnG said it has so far signed up 200,000 users for its service.
Kong said he spent six years developing the TnG app, with an initial capital of HK$100 million.
He said his objective was to break the monopoly of banks in the electronic payment market.
– Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org