After offering special schemes and other freebies to woo customers, the war between taxi aggregators Uber and Ola has now turned into a legal battle.
San Francisco-based Uber on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against ANI Technologies, which owns Ola Cabs, accusing it of making bogus bookings with Uber drivers. Uber is seeking Rs 49 crore in damages from Ola for unfair practices, a lawyer representing Uber told AFP.
The lawsuit alleges Ola of “deliberately, unlawfully, wrongfully, maliciously, falsely, and otherwise tortuously interfering in Uber’s business.”
According to the court notice, Ola is charged with having created 93,859 false rider accounts on Uber’s platform using fake names, email IDs, and phone numbers, and of having made 405,649 false bookings of taxi rides that were later cancelled , causing frustration to drivers.
Uber said it figured out about the false accounts using latitude-longitude of the sign-up location of the rider accounts.
All this has caused it financial, business and goodwill loss, the company added in the statement. “These fake riders never turn up, and cannot even be contacted through their registered phone numbers, since these are untraceable phones.”
Ola, however, denied all the allegations.
“All the allegations made by Uber in the plaint listed for hearing before the High Court of Delhi are denied in entirety, and we have appraised the Court accordingly that the allegations by Uber are frivolous and false to its own knowledge.”
Ola also said that Uber through the notice is trying to “divert attention from the current realities of the market, where Uber has faced major setbacks, including the recent incidents of its vehicles being seized by government authorities.”
Ola has filed a contempt petition that Uber has been adding new diesel vehicles, going against the Delhi government’s rule that taxis should only run on CNG.
Ola, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank, is in a tussle with Uber for a greater share of India’s growing taxi apps market, which is expected to be worth $7 billion by 2020. Ola currently has more than 400,000 taxis on its platform, while Uber has around half the number.
In 2014, US-based ride-hailing firm Lyft accused Uber of using similar tactics to hurt its business, saying it had booked and cancelled more than 5,000 bogus cab rides.
(with agency inputs)