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Govt seeks answers from Ola, Uber after over 3,000 consumer complaints in 13 months

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Govt seeks answers from Ola, Uber after over 3,000 consumer complaints in 13 months

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More than 3,000 complaints have been lodged in a little over a year by consumers across the country against the cab aggregators on multiple issues affecting their rides.

Unhappy with the responses shared in person by online cab aggregators Ola and Uber, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), that monitors consumer protection rights in India, has issued a notice to them noting the serious violations and unfair trade practices. The two companies have been asked to respond in 15 days.
More than 3,000 complaints have been lodged in a little over a year by consumers across the country against the cab aggregators on multiple issues affecting their rides.
According to National Consumer Helpline (NCH) data, 2,482 complaints were registered against Ola and 770 grievances were registered against Uber from April 1, 2021 to May 1, 2022.
Some of the issues raised by CCPA in the notices include lack of proper consumer grievance redressal mechanism, deficiency in service, unreasonable levy of cancellation charges among others.
CCPA, the apex government authority ensuring consumer protection rights in India, regularly monitors consumer complaints getting registered at National Consumer Helpline.
Complaints against Ola Cabs (Period - 1 April, 2021 to 1 May, 2022)
Nature of GrievancesDockets Registered                                %               
Deficiency in Services134054
Paid amount not refunded52121
Unauthorized charges1747
Charging more than MRP/ Overcharging1396
Promised gift not given/Wrong Promises622
Others24610
Complaints against Uber (Period - 1 April, 2021 to 1 May, 2022)
Nature of GrievancesDockets Registered                                %               
Deficiency in Services47361
Paid amount not refunded10514
Unauthorized charges385
Charging more than MRP/ Overcharging375
Promised gift not given/Wrong Promises182
Others9913
On May 10, consumer affairs ministry and representatives from CCPA had met major online cab aggregators operating in the country. Cab aggregators present in the meeting were Ola, Uber, Jugnoo, Meru Cabs and Rapido.
In this meeting top government officials had shared complaint details and asked all the companies to urgently look at consumer grievances and come up with a possible solution.
“In this meeting all the cab aggregators were asked to improve their services as per the consumer interest and consumer rights... A warning was given to Ola and Uber, to pull up their socks or they should be ready to face penal actions,” sources had told CNBC-TV18 on May 10.
Issues flagged by CCPA
Among the major issues raised by CCPA are deficiency in service, inadequate consumer grievance redressal mechanism, unreasonable levy of cancellation charge, lack of any information on the algorithm, and inclusion of charges for add-on services by pre-ticked boxes.
The deficiency in service noticed by CCPA includes lack of proper response from customer support, driver refusing to take payment by online mode and insisting for cash only, 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 so on the app.
When it comes to inadequate consumer grievance redressal mechanism, CCPA has noticed absence of both customer care number and details of grievance officer as required to be mentioned on the platform.
The government authority has also taken cognizance of the fact that Ola and Uber both levy unreasonable 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 unwillingness of the driver to accept the ride or come at the pick-up location,” government statement said.
Government has also shared that there is a serious issue when it comes to any information on the algorithm or method used by the company to charge different fares for the same route from two individuals. And thus, both Ola and Uber need to come clean on this aspect.
Not just this, the 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, is another area of concern, which the two companies have been asked to respond to.
CCPA regularly monitors the consumer protection landscape in India. Recently, it issued advisory against illegal sale and facilitation of wireless jammers on online platforms.
The authority has also issued an advisory to all marketplace e-commerce entities to ensure that details of sellers including name and contact number of the grievance officer are provided in a clear and accessible manner, displayed prominently to users on the platform.
CCPA has also issued safety notices under Section 18(2)(j) of the Act to alert and caution consumers against buying goods which do not hold valid ISI mark and violate compulsory BIS standards.
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