The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued notices to Ola and Uber, the two online ride-hailing platforms for unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights.
As per the data from the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), from 1 April 2021 to 1 May 2022, 2,482 grievances were registered by consumers against Ola and 770 against Uber.
Last week, the Department in a meeting with ride-hailing companies Ola, Uber, Rapido, Meru Cabs and Jugnoo directed them to become convergence partners in the National Consumer Helpline, to enable better grievance redressal for consumers and also comply with Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and E-commerce Rules.
The primary issues raised in the notices include: –
–Deficiency in service which includes lack of proper response from customer support, driver refusing to take payment by online mode and insisting for cash only, the higher amount charged despite going on the same route previously at a lesser charge, unprofessional driver behaviour and driver refusing to switch on AC when the consumer is promised AC ride on the app;
–Inadequate consumer grievance redressal mechanism in absence of both customer care number and details of grievance officer as required to be mentioned on the platform;
–Unreasonable levy of cancellation charge wherein users are not shown the amount of time within which cancelling a ride is permitted. The amount of cancellation charge is not displayed prominently on the platform before booking the ride. Undue cancellation charges are borne by users when they are forced to cancel the ride due to the unwillingness of the driver to accept the ride or come to the pick-up location;
–Lack of any information on the algorithm or method used by the company to charge different fares for the same route from two individuals; and
–Inclusion of charges for add-on services by pre-ticked boxes for including add-on services without obtaining consent by explicit and affirmative action before each ride.
A significant number of complaints have been lodged by consumers across the country on multiple issues which affect their rides booked through both the ride-hailing platforms.