Government Warns Ola, Uber and Other Taxi Aggregators of Strict Measures for Unfair Business Practices

Taxi aggregators including Ola and Uber have been warned of tough action unless they improve their systems and address growing consumer complaints, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The government held a meeting with carpooling platforms on Tuesday amid a rise in consumer complaints over alleged unfair business practices by them, including the policy of canceling rides, as drivers force customers to cancel rides after accepting bookings, forcing customers to pay cancellation penalties. .

“We told them about the increase in consumer complaints against their platforms. We also gave them the statistics. We asked them to improve their system and remedy the consumer complaints, otherwise the competent authority will take action strict,” said Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh. After the meeting.

Alluding to the extent of customer dissatisfaction with taxi aggregators, he said complaints to the Jago Grahak Jago helpline are just the tip of the iceberg.

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) chief commissioner Nidhi Khare said taxi aggregators should immediately come up with solutions. “The authority is likely to issue an advisory to ensure that unfair business practices by taxi aggregators are not carried out in violation of consumer rights,” she added.

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Khare also said the government had communicated that there would be “zero tolerance against such abusive practices” by taxi aggregators. The meeting brought together representatives from Ola, Uber, Meru, Rapido and Jugnu but declined to speak to the media.

On Monday, Singh said the government had requested information from taxi aggregators on how they handle cancellation fees and surges and how they calculate fares.

“We asked why the charge to get from point A to point B is different for two different people,” Singh said, adding that the department also wanted to know whether those ride-hailing apps had taken adequate steps to protect consumer data. on their platforms.

Last week, Khare said the CCPA had received several consumer complaints about taxi aggregators’ cancellation and pricing policy. “The number of complaints is very high so we called the taxi aggregators for an explanation of their policies,” she said.

Citing some examples, she said the regulator had received numerous complaints of alleged unfair business practices, including taxi drivers forcing consumers to cancel a trip and pay a penalty because the drivers were unwilling to accept the ride for some reason. whether it be. Khare further said that existing consumers are charged high fares for a ride, while new users are attracted by lower fares for the same distance.

“It appears that taxi aggregators are using algorithms to attract new customers, putting old customers at a disadvantage. This is an unfair practice,” she added.

Against this backdrop, Khare said the regulator would like to understand their algorithms and other policies adopted to operate as taxi aggregators in the country.

Nitish Bhushan, Head of Central Operations for Uber India and South Asia, said, “We are in contact with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and deeply appreciate the feedback they have provided to us and we will continue to make our contributions. We strive to be the platform of choice for passengers and drivers and continue to invest in technology and customer support to provide them with a great experience. We are committed to continually raising the bar for ourselves, our industry, and most importantly, for the people who use our services.


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