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Consumer Protection Regulator Issues Notices To Ola, Uber For Unfair Trade Practices

Consumer Protection Regulator Issues Notices To Ola, Uber For Unfair Trade Practices

Earlier in May, the central government warned cab aggregators of strict action unless they improve their systems and redress rising consumer complaints

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has given 15-day time to the cab aggregators to reply to the notice

The meeting, also attended by other players such as Meru, Rapido and Jugnu, was convened to discuss a slew of issues such as ride cancellation policy and the ‘no AC policy’

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued notices to cab aggregators Ola and Uber for unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights.

Most of the complaints received against the cab aggregators in the last one year are related to the deficiency in services and other unfair trade practices, CCPA chief commissioner Nidhi Khare told news agency PTI.

The CCPA has given 15-day time to the cab aggregators to reply to the notice.

On May 10, the central government warned cab aggregators of strict action unless they improve their systems and redress rising consumer complaints.

The government also rebuked them over alleged unfair trade practices including their ride cancellation policies, in a meeting held with representatives of cab aggregators such as Ola, Uber, Meru, Rapido and Jugnu. 

Earlier, the government said that it has received complaints that drivers are forcing customers to cancel trips despite accepting bookings, resulting in consumers paying unnecessary fines. 

The authority has shared related statistics with the cab aggregators and asked them to improve their services and redress consumer complaints otherwise the authority will take strict action against them, Consumer Affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh had said.

Earlier in May, the government asked the cab aggregators including Uber, Ola, Meru Cabs, among others to share the algorithm used by them to calculate charges levied by them as consumers are complaining about a spike in fares and arbitrariness of some of the charges, including the refusal of drivers to switch on the air conditioner (AC), citing a rise in oil prices.

Moreover, the Bombay High Court last month called app-based cab firms operating in the state without valid licenses as an instance of ‘complete lawlessness’. The court directed all such aggregators to apply for valid licenses by March 16 if they wish to continue operations. 

Ola and Uber have been in the news over the ‘no AC’ policy adopted by its drivers to protest fuel price hike and low commissions given to them. 

Just a day ago, Uber India hiked fares in many cities across the country to help the drivers against the impact of rising fuel prices. 

Uber India and South Asia’s head of operations Nitish Bhushan said in a blogpost that the Uber experience hasn’t been as ‘magical’ as the company would like for both drivers and riders.

The drivers had raised the issue of fuel price hike and to solve this problem, the company has decided to increase Uber fares to cushion drivers, said Bhushan without disclosing the effective increased rates or the cities where the new rates have been implemented. 

Meanwhile, the online four-wheeler taxi booking segment in the country is dominated by Ola, Uber and Meru.

The online taxi services market in the country was valued at INR 2,975 Cr in FY19 and was expected to grow to INR 6,159 Cr by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.60%, according to a report.