CCPA issues notices to Ola and Uber on violation of consumer rights and unfair trade practices
According to data from the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), from 01.04.2021 to 01.05.2022, consumers filed 2,482 complaints against Ola and 770 complaints against Uber.
In a meeting last week, the Department directed ride-hailing companies Ola, Uber, Rapido, Meru Cabs, and Jugnoo to become convergence partners in the National Consumer Helpline, allowing for better grievance redressal for consumers and compliance with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and E-commerce Rules.
A tabulated summary of the grievances by the consumers is as under:-
The primary issues raised in the notices include: –
- Deficiency in service, including a lack of proper response from customer support, the driver refusing to accept payment online and insisting on cash only, a higher amount charged despite previously travelling the same route at a lower charge, unprofessional driver behaviour, and the driver refusing to turn on AC when the consumer is promised an AC ride on the app.
- Inadequate consumer grievance redressal system due to the absence of both the customer care number and the details of the grievance officer, which are both required to be listed on the platform.
- Unreasonable cancellation fee where users are not informed of the time limit for cancelling a ride. The amount of the cancellation charge is not explicitly mentioned on the platform prior to scheduling the ride. Users bear erroneous cancellation charges when they are forced to cancel a ride owing to the driver’s refusal to accept the ride or arrive 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 should be noted that a substantial number of complaints have been filed by consumers around the country over various issues affecting their rides booked through both ride hailing companies.
The CCPA is constantly monitoring the country’s consumer protection situation. The CCPA has released an advisory warning against the illegal sale and facilitation of wireless jammers on online platforms. The CCPA has also issued an advisory to all marketplace e-commerce entities to ensure that seller details, as mandated by sub-rule (5) of rule 6 of the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020, including the name and contact number of the grievance officer, are provided in a clear and accessible manner and prominently displayed to platform users.
Furthermore, the CCPA has issued Safety Notices under Section 18(2)(j) of the Act to warn and inform consumers against purchasing goods that do not bear a legitimate ISI Mark and violate mandatory BIS standards. The first Safety Notice was issued on 06.12.2021 for Helmets, Pressure Cookers, and Cooking gas cylinders, and the second on 16.12.2021 for household items such as electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG, and so on.