Consumer-rights watchdog notices to Ola, Uber over 3,200 complaints in 1 month

Published on May 20, 2022 09:45 PM IST

Ola, Uber complaints: The notices were prompted by the lack of proper consumer-grievance redressal mechanism, deficiency in service, unreasonable cancellation charges and issues related to the fairness of algorithms used to charge fares.

On unfair trade practices charge against Ola, Uber, consumer-rights regulator a lack of any information on the algorithm or method used by the company to charge different fares for the same route from two individuals. (HT File Photo/Sonu Mehta)
On unfair trade practices charge against Ola, Uber, consumer-rights regulator a lack of any information on the algorithm or method used by the company to charge different fares for the same route from two individuals. (HT File Photo/Sonu Mehta)

NEW DELHI: Acting on rising complaints, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Friday issued notices to ride-hailing platforms Ola and Uber for unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights.

The notices were prompted by the lack of proper consumer-grievance redressal mechanism, deficiency in service, unreasonable levy of cancellation charges and issues related to the fairness of algorithms used to charge fares, among major issues, the top consumer-rights regulator said. Ola had a larger share of complaints than Uber, the CCPA’s data showed.

A key area of concern noted by the consumer-rights regulator was inadequate consumer grievance redressal mechanisms marked by an absence of both “customer care numbers” and details of the “grievance officer”, which were statutory requirements.

Last week, the consumer affairs department under the ministry of consumer affairs held a meeting with representatives of ride-hailing companies such as Ola, Uber, Rapido, Meru Cabs and Jugnoo, and asked them to become partners in the National Consumer Helpline for quicker grievance redressal for consumers and also comply with provisions under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and e-commerce rules, an official said.

“As per the data from the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), from 01.04.2021 to 01.05.2022, 2,482 grievances were registered by consumers against Ola and 770 grievances were registered against Uber,” the CCPA said.

The CCPA said the other issue is that there is a lack of any information on the algorithm or method used by the company to charge different fares for the same route from two individuals.

The consumer-rights regulator said during the period of review, 1340 (54%) dockets were registered against the SoftBank-backed Ola for “deficiency in services”. It also said that 521 (21%) complaints related to “paid amount not refunded”. Ola was also issued notices for unauthorised charges, overcharging and promised “gift not given”.

Dara Khosrowshahi-led Uber saw 473 (61%) complaints related to a deficiency in services during the period, while 105 (14%) dockets related to “paid amount not refunded.”

According to the CCPA’s statement, the primary issues raised by consumers, which formed the basis for the notices, included deficiency in service. HT reached out to both companies for a comment, but did not get a response. This story will be updated when the two major players respond.

The complaints include lack of proper response from customer support, driver refusing to take online payments and insisting on cash only. Complaints also included higher amounts charged on the same route, unprofessional driver behaviour and drivers refusing to turn on ACs despite consumers being promised AC rides on the apps.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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