On the afternoon of August 20, Shashanka Puli, a resident of Gurgaon, booked a radio taxi to take him to the airport in the evening. The booking was easy and he got an SMS confirming the pick-up. He says that usually half an hour before the pick up time, the service provider sends an SMS giving the cab driver’s cell number. However, when the message did not come even fifteen minutes prior to the promised arrival of the taxi, Shashanka got worried and called them up.
After keeping him on hold for five minutes, he was finally told that his booking had been ‘cancelled’. When he pointed out that he should have been informed earlier, the operator just hung up!
The next one hour was a nightmare for Shashanka. When he could not get any other taxi, he had to drive down to a friend’s office, pull him out during office hours and get him to drive him to the airport. “I nearly missed the flight and I want the service provider held accountable”, he says.
If you see the detailed terms and conditions for Radio Taxi Scheme 2006 drawn up by the licensing authority — the transport department of Delhi Government — there is adequate provision to take disciplinary action against the service provider for such behaviour.
In fact, on the basis of such consumer complaints, the transport department can impose a fine or suspend the licence or even cancel the licence. Without the licence, the taxi cabs cannot ply. As per the licensing conditions, the transport authority will also take into consideration the complaints received against the taxi service at the time of renewal of the licence at the end of five years.
The terms and conditions also stipulate that the licensee shall maintain a complaint book with serially numbered pages in triplicate in all motor vehicles as well as at the main and the branch office and the duplicate copy has to be sent to the licensing authority. So consumers should complain in all such cases to the service provider as well as the transport authority.(42-400-400) and demand suitable action.
However, it would be in the interest of consumers if the licensing authority also includes in the terms and conditions, a provision for payment of compensation to consumers for failed or deficient service.
That would force taxi cabs to be far more diligent in respect of their service.
The transport department should also publicise the complaint/helpline number: in fact, they should provide more such lines for registering complaints and send a prompt reply on the action taken. Issues such as failing to turn up should be taken very serious note of and stringent action taken in such cases.
Vishal Jalan: I had made a confirmed booking for a radio cab to take me from Vasant Kunj to airport at 5.30 a.m.
However, when I didn’t receive any intimation about the cab till 5.10 a.m., I called up the call centre only to be told to my horror that my booking has been cancelled.
“Complain if you want” said the operator before hanging up on me.
I then tried at least five-six taxi services, none of them was available at such short notice. I finally ran out of my house with all my luggage and somehow managed to reach the airport using multiple hopslifts. Can I pull up these people for service deficiency and mental agony, even though I haven't actually paid for the service?
Answer: You can certainly file a complaint before the consumer court and seek compensation for the harassment caused to you. I would also suggest that you kindly lodge a complaint with the transport department on their helpline number: 42-400-400 and get an acknowledgement.
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