Lime has drawn fire for its under-the-radar price increase.

Lime exec sledges e-scooter newcomer Flamingo, but its 21yo founders fight their corner

But it could also be a case of bad-timing, with a new entrant promising to introduce price competition to the location e-scooter market for the first time.

E-scooter newcomer Flamingo confirmed to the Herald this morning that it will launch at 30 cents per minute - undercutting Lime, which has just raised its rate to 38 cents per minute.


Flamingo co-founder Jacksen Love says his homegrown startup will have 50 to 100 e-scooters on Auckland streets for its launch tomorrow.

But by the end of July, it's aiming for 525 - or the maximum number allowed under its trial licence.

The third Auckland e-scooter operator, Wave, could not be immediately contacted but is still listing its price as 30 cents per minute.

All three operators charge $1 to unlock a scooter.

Lime says it currently has 950 e-scooters on Auckland streets. (Lime also has 1000 scooters in Christchurch, 700 in Dunedin and 300 in Lower Hutt). Wave is permitted for up to 400 but didn't immediately respond to a query about how many it has deployed.

Flamingo is also due to join Wellington's e-scooter trial this month, and Christchurch's trial in September.

Uber says its Jump by Uber scooters, which will join the Wellington trial next month, will also cost 30 cents per minute.

Meanwhile, Consumer NZ has raised questions about whether Lime properly informed customers about its price increase.


Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson told the ODT said she expected a company such as Lime to notify customers of any price increase.

A price increase was a significant change to the terms and conditions of service and Lime should have notified customers directly Wilson said.

Riders can see the price when they tap on an individual scooter in the app and also when they press scan to ride so they can't hire without seeing the per minute rate before they ride, a spokeswoman for Lime said.

Launching mid-week: Newcomer Flamingo has a licence to put 525 of its hot pink e-scooters on Auckland streets. Photo / Supplied.
Launching mid-week: Newcomer Flamingo has a licence to put 525 of its hot pink e-scooters on Auckland streets. Photo / Supplied.

But there were no other notifications of a price increase, despite Lime having access to customer's emails and the ability to send messages directly to riders.

In a statement, Lime public affairs manager Lauren Mentjox said the company had increased its pricing across New Zealand in the last week.

Users were always able to see the per-minute rate of scooters by opening the app and tapping an individual scooter, she said.

"We've adjusted our pricing to ensure that we can continue to offer excellent operational support where riders demand it most."

Ms Mentjox did not directly respond to a question about whether customers had been satisfactorily notified about the increase.

In its own terms and conditions, Lime says in the event of a price increase it would post the new pricing on its app and attempt to notify customers in advance by email.

Customers should have been given reasonable notice so they could choose to use the credit they had or to put in a cancellation, Consumer's Wison said.

"In this case, Lime says in its own terms and conditions it would notify customers of any increase, so it has an obligation under those."

The way the price increase was handled also raised potential issues under both the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act.

The Herald will run a profile of Flamingo's co-founders later today.