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Consumer protection authority issues notices to Ola and Uber on violation of consumer rights

20/05/2022 at 4:50 PM

New Delhi, May 20: 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 01.04.2021 to 01.05.2022, 2,482 grievances were registered by consumers against Ola and 770 grievances were registered 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 partner in the National Consumer Helpline, to enable better grievance redressal for consumers and also compliance 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, 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 unwillingness of the driver to accept the ride or come at the pick-up location

•             Lack of any information on the algorithm or method used by the company to to charge different fares for the same route from two individuals.

•             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.

It may be mentioned that 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.

CCPA is regularly monitoring the consumer protection landscape in the country. Recently, CCPA issued Advisory against illegal sale and facilitation of wireless jammers on online platforms. CCPA has also issued an Advisory to all marketplace e-commerce entities to ensure that details of sellers as mandated under sub-rule (5) of rule 6 of the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 including name and contact number of the grievance officer are provided in a clear and accessible manner, displayed prominently to users on the platform.

Furthermore, 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. The first Safety Notice was issued on 06.12.2021 with regard to Helmets, Pressure Cookers and Cooking gas cylinders and the second Safety Notice, issued on 16.12.2021 was with regard to household goods including electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG etc.

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