The Central Consumer Protection Authority on Friday issued notices to cab aggregators Ola and Uber for alleged unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights, the Times of India reported. Ola and Uber have been given a week’s time to respond to the notices failing which they will face punitive action, according to the newspaper.
In the past 13 months, consumers have registered over 3,200 complaints against the two firms with the National Consumer Helpline.
“Most of the consumer complaints received in the last year are related to the deficiency in services and other unfair trade practices,” Central Consumer Protection Authority Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare told PTI.
The complaints ranged from matters like cancellations by drivers, their insistence on being paid by cash, rude behaviour, different rates charged for travelling the same route, drivers refusing to switch on the air conditioner and lack of grievance redressal from the customer care centres.
“The amount of cancellation charge is not displayed prominently on the platform before booking the ride,” said the consumer rights body, according to the Hindustan Times. There is also no transparency in terms of what algorithm is used to determine charging two individuals different fares for the same ride, it alleged.
“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 to the pick-up location,” the notice stated.
On May 10, the Central Consumer Protection Authority Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh had held a meeting with officials of Uber, Ola, Meru, Jugnu and Rapido warning the cab aggregators of the rising number of complaints against them.
“We have asked them to improve their system and redress the consumer complaints otherwise the competent authority will take strict action,” Singh said, according to the Hindustan Times.
On Thursday, Uber said it has raised its fares to “cushion drivers” who are impacted by the rising fuel prices, according to the newspaper. In April, Ola and Uber cab drivers went on a strike in light of the soaring fuel prices. Their fares have not been revised since 2015.
Last week, the ministry stated that nearly 2,500 complaints were filed against Ola, and 770 against Uber, according to Times of India. Meanwhile, the Department of Consumer Affairs will be issuing new guidelines in connection to surge pricing and ride cancellations by cab aggregators, IANS reported.